Drexel University President John Fry expressed his concern with the dangers of fraternity hazing and pledged his support for increased policies to prevent further incidents in an op-ed published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I hope other university leaders will join me in supporting Sen. Corman’s bill," Fry, former executive vice president of Penn, wrote.
Following the death of a Pennsylvania State University sophomore in 2017, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-PA) recently introduced a bill to stop fraternity hazing and create a safer university environment. The bill was unanimously passed by the Pennsylvania Senate on April 19.
“We are in the process of reviewing the bill with appropriate staff," University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian.
On Feb. 4, 2017, 19-year-old Timothy Piazza was found dead after a night of hazing that included extreme alcohol consumption, according the NBC News. The student was found unresponsive at the bottom of a staircase, which he had tumbled down due to intoxication.
"To be sure, Drexel University is not immune and has had its sharing of fraternity drinking incidents. We have policies in place that prohibit hazing in any form," Fry wrote in the article.
Fry added that Drexel has hired an outside expert "to conduct a qualitative and quantitative analysis of our fraternity and sorority community" in order to "further ensure safety and best practices."
Corman said he intends for the bill to create a general procedure of punishment in relation to different hazing offenses, according to NBC News. This means that serious injury sustained during these activities could result in a felony.
“This is something that’s been extremely important,” Corman told NBC News. “Under current law dealing with hazing, prosecutors can only charge M2s, misdemeanor twos, which may not reflect the severity of the crime.”
“Such tragedies are much too common,” he told the Inquirer. “In the last decade alone, more than 40 students have died from hazing-related accidents in the United States.”
This is an issue that affects universities across the nation. At Penn, hazing has been a major concern. In February, concurrent with several Greek organization's pledging seasons, the Undergraduate Assembly and Table Talk held a “Why We Haze” event to discuss changing the culture of hazing at Penn.
“Hazing is a pretty prevalent thing at Penn and something we think should be mitigated or stopped,” UA representative and Engineering sophomore Nick Parkes told the DP then. “We didn’t necessarily want to do it through an angle of the administration taking sort of an iron hand to regulate things.”