Pennsylvania State University has permanently banned the Beta Theta Pi fraternity from returning to campus following the death of a student.
Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza died in February after he fell down a stairwell at a Beta Theta Pi party and lay wounded for 12 hours before authorities were called.
The university’s response included indefinitely banning all alcohol at fraternity and sorority events and suspending Beta Theta Pi.
Penn State’s student conduct investigation of Beta Theta Pi revealed “a persistent pattern of serious alcohol abuse, hazing, and the use and sale of illicit drugs,” according to a statement released by the university on March 30.
Penn State has removed the alcohol ban, but has placed limitations on other fraternities and sororities as part of its movement to make Greek life safer for students, including a “strongly enforced” crack-down on underage drinking and hazing and a dramatic reduction of the number of parties allowed per semester.
The statement also mentioned heavy drinking and sexual assault as problems that pervade Greek life on campus and as motivators for the university’s attempt at widespread reforms.
“Research shows that fraternity and sorority members are four times more likely than the general student population to be heavy drinkers,” the statement read. “Sorority women are 50 percent more likely than other female students to be sexually assaulted, and fraternity men are 62 percent more likely to commit a sexual assault than non-fraternity men.”
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