Grand Jury Says Hazing "Rampant And Pervasive" At Penn State

Dec 15, 2017

The Centre County Grand Jury released a report Friday on its investigation into Greek culture at Penn State. In a 144-page report, the Grand Jury finds hazing within Penn State’s Greek Community to be “rampant and pervasive.”

Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller said the self-governance by Penn State’s interfraternity council is at fault and the university allows it.

“The IFC self-regulation is a joke and a catastrophe,” Parks Miller said. “Penn State keeps saying the only power they had is to revoke frats’ recognition. To that, the Grand Jury said, 'That’s a real power; use it.'”

The Grand Jury also recommends many changes, including stronger hazing laws.

In a statement, Penn State President Eric Barron said the university strongly disagrees with the report’s claims about the university’s role and is committed to aggressive efforts to reform.

In the Grand Jury presentment on Timothy Piazza's death made in May, the Grand Jury called Piazza’s death “the direct result of encouraged reckless conduct” in a permissive atmosphere cultivated by IFC and its members.

 

In February, the Beta Theta Pi pledge died of multiple injuries after a night of alcohol hazing. The DA says video shows him furnished 18 drinks in 82 minutes. Penn State’s Greek system has been in turmoil since.

 

Eighteen Beta Theta Pi members were charged based on the Grand Jury presentment made in May, but Centre County Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed all involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in September. The DA called that an “error of law,” and after the FBI recovered basement surveillance footage that was allegedly deleted, new charges were filed in November.

 

Penn State banned Beta Theta Pi permanently and took disciplinary actions on 32 students in relation to Piazza’s death. The university announced a series of new regulations monitoring fraternity and sorority activities on campus, including the use of a scorecard to keep track of their behavior and suspension of recruitment in the 2017 fall semester. (Although, WPSU reports that rule had not be faithfully executed.)