Penn State announced Tuesday the completion of 32 investigations by its Office of Student Conduct into the now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity and its relation to the death of pledge Timothy Piazza.
Piazza, 19, died in February after police say he fell multiple times during a Beta Theta bid acceptance night party. Prosecutors said Piazza was made to drink a dangerous amount of alcohol by the fraternity brothers who hosted the party, which contributed to his death.
According to a Penn State news release, student conduct investigated 32 individuals related to Piazza’s death and the fraternity, though the students themselves were not named.
Of the 32, 19 took a “conduct withdrawal” from the university before the disciplinary process could conclude, the release said. Under this withdrawal, the students have a notation placed on their transcripts stating that while there has been no disciplinary conclusion, the student must complete the process if he or she seeks to return to Penn State.
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Seven students were found to be in violation of the university’s Student Code of Conduct, the release said, for violations including hazing and “creating a condition that endangers.” These students reportedly received disciplinary actions ranging from probation to expulsion.
Six students were not charged with any violations, the release said.
“Because of student privacy, no additional information about these cases will be available,” the release said. “In deference to federal guidelines on student privacy, Penn State does not disclose details of any student’s course through the conduct process, including the outcome of any individual investigation, or any specific resulting sanction should a student be found to have violated the code of conduct.”
Eighteen Beta members, as well as the fraternity itself, were charged with hundreds of counts following the Centre County grand jury investigation into Piazza’s death, with charges ranging from involuntary manslaughter to tampering with evidence. Many charges were dismissed after a monthslong preliminary hearing, including the most serious charges against the fraternity and eight of the fraternity members. Charges against four brothers were dismissed entirely.
Prosecutors moved in late October to have many of the charges reinstated, as District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced her intention to refile charges at the conclusion of the hearing. Parks Miller also filed a request that a county judge appoint a new district judge for the second preliminary hearing.
“Dangerous drinking and negative behavior within the Greek-life community are longstanding issues impacting campuses nationwide, and we have said ‘enough is enough,’ ” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said in the release. “Penn State remains committed to addressing negative outcomes, and preventing them where we can.”
Under the disciplinary process, Penn State also revoked recognition of Delta Tau Delta fraternity until the end of the 2018 fall semester citing several violations of university rules and criminal charges, the release said. The suspension of recognition means that the former fraternity has lost all rights and privileges associated with being a recognized student organization at Penn State.
The Beta Theta house itself continues to draw attention, as the house was reportedly rented out to alumni to stay during home football games. The president of the housing corporation contended that renting the house out is a “tradition.”