Beta Theta Pi’s National Fraternity Executive Director Jeffrey Rundle and Board Chairman Wayne Kay released a statement Saturday on the fraternity’s national website.
The statement addresses the death of Penn State student Tim Piazza in February from injuries he sustained from multiple falls at the Beta Theta Pi Penn State fraternity house during bid acceptance night.
“There are no words to describe the pain we feel for Tim and his family,” the statement reads. “We are so deeply sorry. We are heartbroken. We are outraged.”
Rundle and Kay reiterate that the actions of Penn State’s former Beta Theta Pi fraternity brothers do not embody what the Beta Theta Pi fraternity is all about. After all, the fraternity’s motto is “Men of Principle.”
When Piazza initially fell down the basement steps, fraternity brothers waited nearly 12 hours before calling paramedics. They even spent the last 45 minutes attempting to stage Piazza and dress him. After Piazza’s death, members of the fraternity tried to cover up what happened that night.
“Young men in State College betrayed our fraternity’s teachings, expectations, and policies,” the statement reads. “And for that, we are equally infuriated.”
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller filed a total of 1,098 charges against Beta Theta Pi fraternity and 18 of its former members, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.
You can read the full statement below:
One week ago, our hearts sank as the district attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, detailed the events that lead to the death of Tim Piazza. To think that young men could possibly behave in such a manner is beyond comprehension. There are no words to describe the pain we feel for Tim and his family. We are so deeply sorry. We are heartbroken. We are outraged.
As husbands, fathers, sons, nephews and grandsons, Betas around the world have written and called in to express their anger, disappointment and sorrow. We share their feelings and are left speechless as to how something like this could happen.
It weighs heavily on the Fraternity that Evelyn and Jim Piazza will continue experiencing such unfathomable grief this weekend on what should have been a normal, joy-filled Mother’s Day. For that, our Fraternity can only extend again its most deeply held condolences that young men who purported to represent our Fraternity’s values did anything but. The depth of the Piazza family’s loss is profound, and Betas everywhere join in their anguish.
Certainly, it is hard to formulate the words on behalf of Beta Theta Pi that can even come close to addressing the spectrum of perspectives so many individuals hold toward the situation and the organization at-large. We know there are many who, at this point, couldn’t care less what the Fraternity has to say. We understand and are not defensive or hostile to them. We share many of those same sentiments. Young men in State College betrayed our Fraternity’s teachings, expectations and policies. And for that, we are equally infuriated.
Now, as the Fraternity considers how best to move forward in the coming days, we have confidence in the judicial system that due process and justice can and will be served. We will continue to cooperate with authorities in all manners to make sure of it.
Ultimately, we hope and pray that somehow peace will come to the Piazza family. They deserved so much more from the young men Tim sought to join in the name of friendship and brotherhood.
S. Wayne Kay
General Secretary and Board Chairman
Jeffrey S. Rundle