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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
medical help but failed to get it.
Piazza “ran the gauntlet,” an activity that required him to stop at several stations to drink vodka, wine, and beer. Shortly after that, he fell down a flight of stairs—but rather than getting medical attention, the other men present poured water on him, slapped his face, and propped him upright with a backpack full of books.
One pledge, Kordel Davis, claims that he told the other young men Piazza needed medical attention at some point during the night; he also says that they told him he was overreacting.
The fall lacerated Piazza’s spleen and fractured his skull. At one point, Piazza stood up and walked toward the door; he fell again and hit his head. Nobody called 9-1-1 until 11 the next morning, when Piazza was still lying on the floor, unconscious. The spleen injury was so severe that his abdominal cavity filled with blood; surgeons had to cut away part of his skull to relieve the pressure on his swollen brain.
Since Piazza’s death, a grand jury concluded that “the Penn State Greek community nurtured an environment so permissive of excessive drinking and hazing that it emboldened its members to repeatedly act with reckless disregard to human life.”
Eight members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity who were there that night have since been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Others face charges of aggravated assault, evidence tampering, and alcohol-related crimes. The fraternity has been banned from the Penn State Campus, as well.
What Do You Think?
Do you think Penn State was right to ban the fraternity from campus? What can the university do to discourage these behaviors in fraternities and sororities—or are they already doing everything they can?
A 19-year-old fraternity pledge was killed in February at Pennsylvania State University, giving rise to more concerns about frat hazing gone awry. The young man, Timothy Piazza, spent the night binge-drinking with other pledges and fraternity brothers who knew he needed
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University Hazing: When Does It Stop?
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