Over a year after Penn State sophomore Tim Piazza’s death, the Pennsylvania Senate is taking the next step toward enacting of some of the strictest anti-hazing laws in the nation.
The proposed legislation, known as “Tim’s Law,” could result in third-degree felony charges and up to seven years in prison in the case of injury or death, as well as property confiscation from the Greek groups responsible. “Tim’s Law” still needs to be passed by the House and signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in order to become law, the Philly Inquirer reports.
"This is something that's been extremely important because under current law dealing with hazing, prosecutors can only charge M2s, misdemeanor twos, which may not reflect the severity of the crime," Sen. Jake Corman (R-Harrisburg) told NBC reporters.
After becoming extremely intoxicated at a hazing event, Piazza died in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, where he fell down the stairs and was seen over the span of 12 hours by eight students who failed to call for help. Those students were later charged with involuntary manslaughter, but the charges were dismissed this past March.
After the bill received unanimous approval from the Pennsylvania Senate, Gov. Wolf expressed support for its intentions.
“We must ensure schools have proper safeguards to protect students and curb these practices,” the governor said in a statement to the Inquirer.
The bill “gives law enforcement the tools we need to hold students accountable,” said the Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who took over the case in January, to the Inquirer. The legislation also has the support of Penn State.
“From the beginning, we thought this was very important,” Eric Barron, president of Penn State, said to the Inquirer.
Hazing has been a consistent concern at Penn. As recently as this past February, Table Talk and the Undergraduate Assembly held a talk to change the culture of hazing before pledge season.
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