Penn State Hazing Report Outlines Abuses
Beginning this year, all Pennsylvania higher education institutions are required to publish hazing reports under the state’s new antihazing law. Penn State released a five-year hazing report on Tuesday, listing hazing violations between 2013 and 2018.
The report from Penn State included 31 hazing incidents. The majority took place on the University Park campus. Altoona, Harrisburg and Behrend campuses also reported hazing.
The report described a wide range of hazing activities, from physical and verbal abuse, to forced consumption of alcohol and drugs, to embarrassment and forced errands.
In one case, new members of the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity were taped to poles and had food thrown at them. Members were “forced to plank with bottle caps on their elbows,” and required to write “a pseudo-newsletter containing pornographic images that was placed throughout the fraternity house.” In another case, new members of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority on the Altoona campus had to lick existing members’ toes.
According to the report, these student organizations all received sanctions, including suspension and probation. However, some cases on the report include very little detail since misconduct cases among student organizations used to be handled by student-led governing bodies, such as the Interfraternity Council. Penn State took over much of that responsibility in 2017.
Most of the events occurred in Greek organizations, with the exceptions of an acapella club, the women’s soccer team and a sports camp unrelated to Penn State students.
The report is mandated by the new Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law, named after the Penn State student who died from fatal injuries suffered during hazing. His death is not mentioned in the report.
Lisa Powers, a Penn State spokesperson, said in an email, that “for this report, the law requires universities to list the hazing behaviors of students and organizations found at fault and not the outcomes experienced. The entries all follow this model for consistency.”
Powers added that the university follows a no-tolerance policy on hazing.
“The tragic death of Timothy Piazza has not been and will not be forgotten and has led to an abundance of reforms that reaffirm student safety as a priority within these organizations,” Powers said.
Going forward, biannual hazing reports will publish on August 1 and January 1 each year.