Penn State’s Interfraternity Council chapter presidents have made a short-term decision after President Eric Barron’s open letter to the Greek community — they have canceled two weeks of social events.
The cancellation of socials follows two months of scrutiny after Beta Theta Pi pledge Timothy Piazza’s death, which university administrators have said was the result of an acceptance ceremony that involved excessive alcohol consumption. Piazza died Feb. 4, two days after he suffered injuries in a fall at the since-banned fraternity.
“It was the decision of the Interfraternity Council chapter presidents that all social events will be canceled for the next two weekends,” IFC Vice President for communications Michael Cavallaro said in a statement. “Our chapters plan to use this time to continue their philanthropic efforts, to reflect on the values of the Greek community and to consider any necessary changes that need to be made.”
In an open letter to Greek life members on Monday, Barron questioned whether the Greek system is coming to an end at Penn State. Barron wrote that nine of the university’s 82 Greek organizations violated new rules during Parent’s Weekend. He also obtained an email from an IFC leader that detailed how to not get caught breaking violations.
“If new rules can just be ignored, or behavior just goes underground, and if there is no willingness to recognize the adverse impact of excessive drinking, hazing, and sexual assault, then is there any hope?” Barron asked.
The “new rules” include deferment of Greek life recruitment for a semester, “strongly enforced” prohibition of underage drinking, no daylong events and a reduction of 45 socials with alcohol per semester to 10. The restrictions were announced in response to Piazza’a death.
Penn State Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims confirmed Wednesday that he made statements to Philly.com regarding videos of the Beta Theta Pi party that appeared to show a hazing ritual in which pledges were compelled to drink “enormous amounts” of alcohol.
Beta Theta Pi’s Alpha Upsilon chapter is petitioning a Centre County judge to return the videos that were seized by State College police in the investigation. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Wednesday.