by Jordan Rolon, 2013 IFC Vice President of Communications
Tragedy has a way of clouding our better judgement and erasing our memories. It pushes us to act on pure emotion rather than thinking through the choices we make. February 3, 2017, the day that Timothy Piazza died, is nothing short of a tragedy. Let me start by saying my thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all friends and family affected by this incident. Unfortunately, though, the Penn State administration and Board of Trustees have fallen into the trap of acting on emotion rather than logic.
Let’s take a step back to 2011 and remember an event that is still very clear in all our minds: the Sandusky Scandal. This event shook Happy Valley in ways no one thought possible. The NCAA hit Penn State with a $60 million sanction, a four-year football postseason ban, removed all wins since 1998, and reduced 10 initial and 20 total scholarships over a four-year period.
The nation was stunned.
How could the NCAA go so hard on a university that has such a long legacy of greatness, solely due to the terrible actions of one person? This question was asked not only by Penn State students and alumni but also by the Penn State Administration and Board of Trustees. As we all know, time went on, emotions settled, and people regained their logical thinking. The sanctions were removed one by one. People realized that Penn State, as a whole, should not be punished for what was done but rather collaborate with other organizations to make sure this tragedy never happens again.
The NCAA learned that an entire organization should not be punished for one group’s actions. We learned that if people stopped acting with emotion and begin to think logically that we would be much better off. Doesn’t it sound like this lesson can and should be applied anywhere else?
How about we learn from our past and stop letting emotion block our logical thinking. I am calling for Penn State to remove these actions taken against Greek life. These actions are not going to teach fraternities how to drink responsibly, how to spot risky behaviors, or how to mold these members into better men. This will do nothing but promote underground, unmonitored social activity. This will prevent eager freshman who joined Penn State to be a part of an organization bigger than themselves from being able to do so. This will do everything except what needs to be done — educate the members of Greek life on how to properly run a social event, the proper protocol to take if someone is injured, and other important lessons to be learned so this never happens again.
The Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity taught me how to be a better man. My fraternity is the reason that I am as successful as I am today. I am only a few years removed from college and I have been able to make a positive name for myself. None of this would have been possible if I didn’t have the love and support of my fraternity behind me. These men taught me how to push myself further than I ever thought possible, embrace leadership positions that I didn’t think I was capable of doing, and achieve things I could never even dream of. My fraternity made me the success story I am today and I’m happy to say that I am not the exception but rather the rule. Penn State Greek life has allowed thousands of men just like me to grow into better people and successful members of society. Depriving anyone of this amazing opportunity, even for just a semester, is not only a disservice to the students but a hypocritical action of the university.