After the death of a 19-year-old engineering student at a fraternity house in February, Pennsylvania State University plans to publish a “report” on fraternities and sororities in trouble for hazing pledges, alcohol violations, and other violations.
The school is still working on the details, but the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Monday that officials at Penn State will revive the idea of report cards that were set up as part of a task force on Greek life back in 2015. The task force was created after school officials suspended the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity for three years amid allegations of hazing, underage drinking and sexual harassment.
“The goal was to create a ‘buyer’s guide’ to help students avoid groups that had poor records and are attracted to groups with a good administration,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement last month. “The thinking Was, that maybe a ‘buyer’s guide’ would affect the economic status of the house. At the same time may reveal a negative trend in the behavior in time, allowing us to intervene earlier through the introduction of a house on notice.”
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The plan has not yet been completed, but officials from the school announced Monday that administrators and the board of directors will hold a meeting in the beginning of June to consider a number of actions on top of the measures Penn State has already after death of Tim Piazza, the Beta Theta Pi frat house. These measures include the postponement of the charge to both fraternities and sororities from the fall to spring semester during the next academic year, a ban on beer kegs of the parties and the introduction of a heavier emphasis on a no-tolerance policy for hazing.
A grand jury report said that security camera footage captured the events in the house that night, including commitments to be ordered to drink a lot of alcohol after the ceremony. Piazza seemed to be drunk and fell face-first down a flight of basement steps.
Fraternity brothers made half-hearted and even counterproductive efforts to help him, and when one member is a strong advocate for summoning help, he was shoved into a wall and told to leave, the report said.
Piazza apparently fell down the steps again early the next morning, but was not discovered until approximately 10 pm, Someone called 911 about 40 minutes later. Piazza later died as a result of severe injuries to his head.
Eight of the Piazza fraternity brothers face charges of aggravated assault, a felony that carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison after a conviction. Penn State has also permanently banned the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
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A Penn State student walks in the rain along Old Main on the Penn State main campus in State College, Pa., Wednesday, October. 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
A spokesman for Penn State, told Fox News that while it is premature to discuss specific recommendations or plans prior to the meeting of the board, the university is considering a number of options that will leave in drastic of measures are often used at institutions across the country.
“The safety of our students and the campus community is of the utmost importance, and we are determined to take decisive action,” Barron said in a statement. “There are no easy solutions, but we leave no stone unturned as we search for the most effective ways to achieve change.”
Despite that it is far from universal, the idea of a “report” for fraternities and sororities is not unique to Penn State. Leigh University publishes a report of all the violations created by the Greek letter organizations, while schools ranging from Rutgers University in New Jersey at the Texas A&M have lists on their websites to brands on the behaviour of the status and the sanctions that are currently posted on a fraternity and sorority.
During the Penn State, the plan drew praise from the national Greek letter organizations, there is concern that fraternities and sororities can be unfairly targeted by the officials of the school.
“The [North-American Interfraternity Conference] supports the transparent reporting of the organization-conduct violations and adjudication. Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Heather Kirk, the chief communication officer at the NIC, said in a statement to Fox News. “For the university to report to be effective, ALL student organizations and athletic teams. Things like hazing and alcohol abuse are problems in a whole range of student activities on the campus, of the brotherhoods to the marching band.”