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Trib editorial: Frat recruiting & students' safety

| Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, 8:57 p.m.
West Virginia President E. Gordon Gee (Trib photo)
Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia President E. Gordon Gee (Trib photo)

“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”

The often-quoted line from the fictional character Dean Vernon Wormer, played for comic effect in the movie “Animal House,” sadly has application amid reports of alcohol-infused college fraternity hazings and drunken parties that lead to serious injuries and, in some cases, tragedies.

West Virginia University is the latest to issue a wake-up call.

The campus in Morgantown has temporarily banned 16 fraternities from engaging in social recruiting activities in response to “continued behavior issues.” More specifics would be helpful. According to WVU President E. Gordon Gee, “I cannot in good conscience as your president stand by and do nothing.”

The announcement follows recent fraternity incidents elsewhere, including a University of Pittsburgh student hospitalized last month for alcohol poisoning after an off-campus fraternity-recruitment event. Far more disturbing is the death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, 19, who fell down a flight of stairs at a fraternity house. His fraternity “brothers” reportedly waited 12 hours before calling for help.

College life, as we've opined, is a rite of passage — a corridor of options en route to adulthood. Mistakes are made and lessons are learned. Better for the fraternities, themselves, to address any activities that obviously cross the line. Failing that, it's up to colleges to step up for the safety of their students.

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