Penn State

NextGen America, progressive advocacy group, says State College is one of the highest performing areas in terms of numbers of registered young voters. The group has been working to get young people to register and vote.
Photo courtesy of NextGen America

 

Since the Parkland shooting in February, there have been movements nationwide to energize young people to vote in this November’s midterm elections.

 

Jessica Maggio is a part of that movement. Recently, she stood outside of the HUB Robeson Center on Penn State’s University Park campus, attempting to strike up conversations with students streaming into and out of the building.

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, Jeff Bartos, held a town hall at Penn State on Monday.  

Dozens of students attended and raised questions on balancing the state budget and lowering taxes while maintaining social welfare programs. They also touched on issues including free speech on college campuses and sanctuary cities. The Q&A lasted about an hour.  

Penn State Outing Club Can Go Outside Again. But Not Too Far.

Sep 14, 2018
Christina Platt is president of the Penn State Outing Club.
Christina Platt

In April, a university review deemed the Penn State Outing Club's activities -- hiking and backpacking to name a few -- too dangerous. Campus recreation disbanded the club.

But now, the group has changed its designation from a club sport to a recognized student organization. They can go on outings again, but there are still limitations: No hiking farther than 50 miles from State College and no more overnight backpacking trips.

Club President Christina Platt said they’re making the best of the changes.

In this file photo, Jim Piazza spoke at a press conference regarding the case on the hazing death of his son Tim. The Piazzas and national Beta Theta Pi reached a settlement on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The parents of Tim Piazza, who died after a night of hazing and drinking at Penn State's Beta Theta Pi chapter, have settled with the national fraternity, according to their lawyer.

The amount for which Jim and Evelyn Piazza settled with Beta Theta Pi is undisclosed, family attorney Thomas Kline said.

Beta Theta Pi has also agreed to a 17-point program to make chapters safer and penalize groups for hazing, he said, reforms that will "help establish a baseline for the new norm" of fraternity life.

The cast of "Results Will Vary*" during a summer preview performance in Eisenhower Auditorium.
Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Penn State students are back at the University Park campus. Last week, nearly 300 freshmen attended “Results Will Vary*,” a theatre performance that put a new spin on student orientation. The show explored issues students might face and resources the university has to support them.

The Piazzas at press conference
Min Xian / WPSU

Jim and Evelyn Piazza, the parents of Tim Piazza, gave an anti-hazing presentation to fraternity and sorority members at Penn State on Wednesday. They said their goal is to end the culture of hazing.

The Piazzas named their presentation, “Love, Mom & Dad.” They asked their audience in HUB Robeson Center's Freeman auditorium to imagine the painful loss of a child, as they recounted the details of how Tim was hazed and fatally injured in 2017.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Both sides gave closing statements on Wednesday in the fourth preliminary hearing of the Penn State hazing case. All seven defendants face charges that had been dismissed by two districts judges earlier this year.

The charges were refiled by the attorney general’s office. Prosecutors allege these former fraternity brothers conspired and committed hazing, resulting in the death of pledge Tim Piazza.

In their closing arguments, defense attorneys said their clients had limited interaction with Piazza and had no knowledge of his injuries on bid acceptance night.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

Update: 5:20 p.m.

A fourth preliminary hearing is underway in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. A Centre County district judge will hear the prosecution's case and decide whether to send seven defendants to trial with new charges including involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

It takes at least 100 years for one inch of topsoil to form. In Pennsylvania, farmers are becoming increasingly interested in managing soil to produce healthier, more sustainable crops.

Take Note: New Book Explores "Evan Pugh's Penn State"

Aug 7, 2018

Dr. Roger Williams is the author of “Evan Pugh’s Penn State:  America’s Model Agricultural College.” It is the first book-length treatment of this mid-nineteenth century scientist-president who forged the nation’s first successful higher education institution dedicated to scientific agriculture -- what is now Penn State.

Williams served as Associate Vice President and Executive Director of the Penn State Alumni Association, the world’s largest, from 2003 to 2015 and as Affiliate Associate Professor in Penn State’s Higher Education Program.

Philip Masorti (second from right) spoke to reporters outside the courthouse after the sentencing of his client, Ryan Burke (right), on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The first and, so far, only former Penn State fraternity member who pleaded guilty in the hazing death of Timothy Piazza was sentenced on Tuesday.

Ryan Burke, the “rush chair” who was in charge of recruitment for Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, was sentenced to three months of house arrest, over two years of probation, 100 hours of community service and fines.

He pleaded guilty to nine counts of charges in hazing and alcohol violations, including giving vodka to 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, who died after a night of hazing in 2017.

State College borough planning director Ed LeClear in front of one of the houses sold through the Neighborhood Sustainability Program.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

It’s just a short walk from the municipal building in downtown State College where Ed LeClear works as borough planning director to a two-story brick house on Foster Avenue with a “For Sale” sign out front. The blocks surrounding it are full of apartment buildings and fraternities, but this block is mostly single-family homes.

The State College Borough’s Redevelopment Authority bought this house, removed the permit that allowed owners to rent it to students and is reselling it as a part of the Neighborhood Sustainability Program.

Penn State Frat Hazing Death Trial Scheduled For February

Jul 19, 2018
The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Members of a Penn State University fraternity charged in connection with the death of a pledge after a night of hazing and drinking are scheduled to go to trial early next year.

Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine set aside 20 days for the trial involving 21 members of the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity, starting Feb. 6.

Defendants are accused of hazing, reckless endangerment and other offenses after the death last year of 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza, of Lebanon, New Jersey.

Danielle Dormer at the WPSU studios.
Min Xian / WPSU

This episode of Take Note is part of "State of Emergency: Searching for solutions to Pennsylvania’s opioids epidemic." State of Emergency is a combined effort of newsrooms across the state to draw attention to programs, therapies and strategies that are actually showing promise in the fight against this public health crisis.

Don Voigt is a retired a research associate for Penn State’s Ice and Climate Exploration group. During his career, he logged 18 seasons in Antarctica, seven in Greenland and two in Alaska. We’ll talk with him about his research with the Penn State Ice and Climate Exploration, his experiences at the ends of the earth, and his advice for aspiring scientists.  

Ryan Burke, one of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza, entered a guilty plea on Wednesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

One of the former fraternity members charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza formally entered a guilty plea on Wednesday. It’s the first guilty plea in the case.

Appearing in the Centre County courthouse for the first time in this case, Ryan Burke pleaded guilty to all nine charges against him.

The study showed a stark divide in employment recovery after the 2008 recession in different parts of the state.
"Pennsylvania Employment on the Move: 2001-17" study 

National unemployment levels are as low as they have been in years, but that rising tide isn’t necessarily lifting all boats. Penn State researchers say recent economic development in different parts of Pennsylvania varies dramatically.

"Eat First, Cry Later" author Mimi Brash Coppersmith.
Emily Reddy / WPSU

In State College in the late 1950s, she was a rarity: a progressive, a business owner, and a woman.

Mimi Barash Coppersmith celebrates her 85th birthday with a newly published memoir, "Eat First, Cry Later: The Life Lessons Of A First-Generation College Graduate, Penn State Alumna and a Female CEO." It recounts 48 life lessons drawn from an exceptional life brimming with triumphs and tragedies. She talked with Patty Satalia for WPSU's Take Note. 

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we’ll hear a Bach viola da gamba sonata, played on viola and piano by two Penn State faculty members; “Capriccio Espangol” by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov played by the Penn State Philharmonic; and from Music at Penn’s Woods 2017, we’ll hear a ballet suite from “Mother Goose” by Maurice Ravel, and a violin duo with an amazing cover of the hit song, “Hotel California” by the Eagles!

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A judge has refused to reinstate involuntary manslaughter charges against five former Penn State fraternity members arrested in a pledge's hazing-related death last year.

Prosecutors sought to appeal a magistrate's decision to dismiss the most serious charges in the death of 19-year-old sophomore engineering student Tim Piazza of Lebanon, New Jersey. Piazza died of severe head and abdominal injuries after falling several times at the house the night of a bid acceptance ceremony and party.

Iraqi citizen Basim Razzo and Penn State professor Sam Richards.
Min Xian / WPSU

In a TED Talk at Penn State in 2010, sociology professor Sam Richards put forward a challenge of empathy. He showed the audience a picture of two captured Iraqi insurgents and asked them to put themselves in these men’s shoes – to think about their lives, their families and why they were fighting.

Not long after, on the other side of the world in Iraq, Basim Razzo saw that video and got in touch with Dr. Richards. Razzo has since been a frequent speaker at Richards’ classes – via Skype – and now Richards’ students have raised the money to bring Razzo to Penn State.   

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity house where Penn State student Timothy Piazza was fatally injured in Feb. 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dismissed the more severe charges against a second group of defendants in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza. With the ruling issued, a set of 25 former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers will head to trial. 

Among this group of 12 defendants, five of the brothers, Joshua Kurczewski, Ryan Burke, Jonathan Kanzler, Bohan Song and Aiden O’Brien, were each charged with reckless endangerment, which is a second degree misdemeanor. 

A bicyclist rides past Pennsylvania State University's shuttered Beta Theta Pi fraternity house Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in State College, Pa.
Gene J. Puskar / AP Photo

The three-day preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza completed on Friday. District judge Steve Lachman said he will announce on Monday whether the charges will go to trial.

These 12 defendants are the second group of former Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in the criminal investigation into the death of Piazza. 

State College police detective David Scicchitano left the courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday.
Min Xian / WPSU

The preliminary hearing for 12 defendants charged in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza continued in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte on Thursday. 

Prosecutors continued their effort in building the case against the former fraternity brothers, who face charges ranging from reckless endangerment to hazing and furnishing. The charges were filed based on security footage of the basement of the fraternity house. The FBI recovered it after it was allegedly deleted.

Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Zarallo spoke about the hazing case during a press conference in Harrisburg on Tuesday.
Min Xian / WPSU

Prosecutors from the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General began on Wednesday to build the case against 12 defendants for charges in relation to the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. A new judge is presiding over the preliminary hearing and will decide whether the defendants will go to trial for charges including reckless endangerment, hazing and furnishing. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro had asked that involuntary manslaughter charges be reinstated against fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday about the prosecution of fraternity members in the hazing death of Penn State student Tim Piazza. Shapiro detailed why, after completing an “independent and comprehensive” review, his office is fighting to reinstate involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants and drop those charges against some others.

The Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Min Xian / WPSU

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office is appealing the dismissal of some charges in the case of the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza.

The attorney general’s office is fighting to reinstate charges against eight defendants, including involuntary manslaughter charges faced by five former fraternity members.

President of the now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Brendan Young, and pledge master, Daniel Casey, are among those who had involuntary manslaughter charges cleared, but they both will go to trial on charges of conspiracy to commit hazing.

The Outing Club is one of three student-run clubs that have been disbanded by Penn State. The president of the club meets with the university Wednesday to negotiate.

Outing Club president Richard Waltz found the club his first year at Penn State. He says it was a pivotal moment for him.

“Freshman year that first trip to Shenandoah just absolutely changed the course of my college career,” Waltz said. “It was a defining moment for me.”

Penn State Students Help Refugees On Alternative Spring Break

Apr 2, 2018
Awaly Diallo, Paula Tabaschek and Shreya Sunder sort clothes at the Shop of Hope.
Lindsey Whissel Fenton / WPSU

Spring break conjures images of college kids partying in Cancun. But, for some students, this week off is spent doing community service.

Eleven Penn State students spent a week in Atlanta on a Penn State Alternative Break to work with refugees with the International Rescue Committee. Throughout the week, the students rotated through volunteer stations.

Duncan de la Feld, the volunteer coordinator at IRC’s Atlanta office, says the organization’s role in the refugee resettlement process takes over at airport baggage claim.

Timothy Piazza's parents as they entered the courthouse this morning in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

A judge has dismissed all involuntary manslaughter charges against five defendants in the Penn State hazing case in relation to the death of pledge Timothy Piazza. This is the second time Judge Allen Sinclair has thrown out those charges. 

The judge also dismissed all the reckless endangerment charges that eight defendants faced. Those charges were refiled by former Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller last November, after Sinclair dismissed them last September. 

Pages