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Penn State Cancels Fall 2017 Greek Recruitment, Imposes Additional Social Regulations

Fraternities and sororities at Penn State will not recruit or accept new members at the start of the fall semester, Penn State announced today. The university says “more disturbing facts have emerged, including a persistent pattern of serious alcohol abuse, hazing, and the use and sale of illicit drugs” in the investigation of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, prompting these new regulations.

Formal recruitment (read: rush) will not happen at all this fall. After that, students will be required to have 12 full-time credits under their belts before they’re allowed to go Greek. There’s a possibility the university could ban freshmen from rushing altogether in the future. Conversations about the size of new membership classes is “part of an ongoing review.”

As part of the new social restrictions, liquor and kegs can’t be served at social events at all. Only beer and wine can be served by RAMP (a licensing available to bartenders) trained servers. Penn State says there will be “a strongly enforced prohibition against underage possession or consumption of alcohol in chapter houses and activities.”

Daylongs are officially banned, and each frat can only hold 10 socials with alcohol per semester. The current limit from IFC is 45 socials per semester — or three nights per week for the 15 weeks. Social attendance will be “limited to the legal capacity of the chapter house.”

Finally, hazing won’t be tolerated. “Hazing that involves alcohol or serious physical abuse will likely lead to loss of university recognition,” the press release says. “Increased educational programming focused on preventing hazing will be mandatory for all chapter members.”

If Greeks don’t abide by these rules, Penn State says it may cut back even further — it’s possible the university could declare the Greek system completely dry. The regulations will be enforced by third parties like in the past and a combination of student leadership and Penn State staff.

“When discovered, any violations of these expectations will result in appropriate and significant disciplinary action,” the press release says.

This news comes on the heels of a Greek social moratorium set by Penn State and the Interfraternity Council in February as part of new regulations rolled out after the death of student Timothy Piazza.

Piazza passed away February 4 at Hershey Medical Center as a result of traumatic injuries sustained when he fell down the basement steps at Beta Theta Pi fraternity on February 2. Piazza was accepting a membership bid at the fraternity’s bid acceptance ceremonies that night. Members of the fraternity did not contact paramedics until 12 hours after they say Piazza fell while intoxicated.

After suspending Beta Theta Pi’s Penn State chapter, the university vowed significant reform to Greek life. Now, the university has banned Beta Theta Pi from campus permanently.

“The University’s investigation has produced deeply disturbing evidence showing that Beta Theta Pi fell far short of its professed policies and values,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said in a press release. “The serious violations we have found include forced drinking, mandatory hazing and other illegal activity, which combine with a student’s tragic death to lead us to conclude that Beta Theta Pi, despite its notable history at Penn State, merits no continuing place in our community.”

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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