Timothy Piazza’s parents were in State College over the weekend, bringing their older son back to town to continue his studies.
Jim and Evelyn Piazza told CBS This Morning that it wasn’t easy to do, coming just six months after the death of Tim when a February pledge party at Beta Theta Pi fraternity ended in tragedy.
“It was hard knowing we should have been bringing two kids back,” Evelyn Piazza said.
They spoke to the morning show on Wednesday, commenting on a statement put out by Penn State on Monday morning that detailed the start of a new way of dealing with fraternities and sororities at the university.
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“I think they’re a good start,” Jim Piazza told the hosts. “We’ve been in contact with President (Eric) Barron for the past six months about proposals they need to implement, and many of the proposals they have put forth are our suggestions. But there’s still more that they need to do.”
Early actions included suspending the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi just days after the incident. The fraternity was later banned.
Penn State followed that with a shuttering of all alcohol events during the spring semester and strict enforcement, which led to another fraternity suspension.
The university trustees then passed the major changes in June, which take away control from the fraternities’ and sororities’ governing councils and put discipline and oversight into Penn State’s hands. Additional education was mandated for students before pledging and scorecards are formulated to allow students and parents to make informed decisions about the organizations. New employees monitoring the process will be paid for by fees paid by members of Greek life.
Perhaps most directly connected to Tim Piazza’s death are the strict measures that have been put in place concerning alcohol — cutting out the hard liquor that was part of the pledge party, and limiting drinks to wine and beer but no kegs. Age restrictions will be enforced, with fraternities being required to have officially trained servers on site.
The question now, for the family, is partially how this happens.
“At the end of the day, they have to implement and more importantly enforce,” Jim Piazza said. “We’re happy to see that (Penn State has) taken responsibility and said their oversight has been severely lacking.”
The Piazzas also addressed the issue of Tim Bream, a man Jim Piazza called “culpable” in his son’s death.
Bream, a fraternity adviser in the house at the time of the incident and a Penn State Nittany Lions trainer and athletic director, is scheduled to be in court next week for a contempt hearing connected with the case. He has not been charged.