Penn State ‘Deeply Regrets’ Not Sending Administrator To Piazza Funeral

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Penn State released another update Monday on its new Greek life updates page, apparently responding to various media inquiries the university has received over the past few days.

The statement reiterates how Penn State is working to change Greek life culture through strict policies, but goes on to explain no Penn State representative attended Tim Piazza’s funeral.

Piazza died in February as a result of injuries he sustained falling down the stairs multiple times at Beta Theta Pi fraternity during a bid acceptance night. Fraternity brothers did not call 911 until nearly 12 hours after Piazza’s initial fall. The fraternity itself and 18 former members have since been charged with various crimes relating to Piazza’s death, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault.

Penn State says the administrator who was slated to attend the funeral service had to cancel because of a personal emergency. Even so, the university did not even try to arrange for another administrator to attend in his place.

The university emphasized the candlelight vigil Penn State representatives participated in with Piazza’s parents, which was organized by the Interfraternity Council.

“The university administrator assigned responsibility for representing the school at student funeral services was unable to attend the service for Tim due to a personal emergency,” the statement reads. “He contacted the Piazza family in advance of the service to let them know about his conflict. The university did participate in a vigil held with the Piazza family on campus. Even so, we deeply regret that no one was asked to attend Tim’s funeral in his place.”

You can read the full statement below:

Our hearts go out to the family. This is heart wrenching for the family, and our entire community.

Penn State initiated aggressive enforcement, education and monitoring measures to address these issues well before the tragic death of Timothy Piazza, and announced additional measures following, some of which were taken in consultation with the family. Our actions will continue, and represent our ongoing commitment to drive change in tackling binge drinking at universities. This is a national problem that has been worsening. The University’s extensive education and enforcement policies are available at Penn State Update. Of note, while Penn State has one of the most aggressive student misconduct policies in the country, and its off-campus policy pertaining to misconduct remains the most vigorous in the Big Ten, it is complicated by the fact that fraternities at Penn State, and other universities, are independent from the University, which is why we must work together. All parents and families, and Penn State want students to have a safe college experience, and we will not rest in our efforts until this problem is curbed.

Penn State senior administrators have communicated frequently with the Piazzas since Tim’s tragic death, and have given careful consideration to the family’s needs and wishes throughout this deeply troubling time, as the search for answers to this national problem continues. The University administrator assigned responsibility for representing the school at student funeral services was unable to attend the service for Tim due to a personal emergency. He contacted the Piazza family in advance of the service to let them know about his conflict. The University did participate in a vigil held with the Piazza family on campus. Even so, we deeply regret that no one was asked to attend Tim’s funeral in his place. There should be no question, however, that Tim, his family, and his friends have been constantly in our thoughts ever since this tragedy occurred, and there they remain, with our most profound sympathy.

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Elissa Hill

Elissa is a sophomore public relations major and an editor for Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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