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Beta Theta Pi National Fraternity Releases Statement On Charges Against Former Members Of Penn State Chapter

Beta Theta Pi’s national chapter released a statement reaffirming its stance against alcohol misuse and hazing after Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller announced charges against Beta Theta Pi fraternity and former members of the chapter at Penn State this morning in Bellefonte.

“The nature of those charges are incredibly disheartening as the organization and its membership continue to grieve Tim [Piazza]’s passing and the pain experienced by his family,” the statement reads.

Piazza fell down the fraternity house steps at bid acceptance night on February 2, when he was slated pledge the fraternity. According to his parents, he suffering a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and nonrecoverable brain injury following the fall.

Beta Theta Pi brothers did not call paramedics until the next morning — nearly 12 hours after Piazza’s initial fall. The grand jury presentment says Piazza fell multiple times throughout the night. He was transported to Mt. Nittany Medical Center and later flown to Hershey Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on February 4. You can see more about what happened during bid acceptance night in the grand jury presentment.

“As such, and despite the number of accolades bestowed upon the former chapter by the university in recent years, the International Fraternity stands by its decision to suspend and disband the former chapter on February 17, 2017,” the statement reads. “The International Fraternity’s policy that prohibited alcohol in the Penn State chapter house, along with the extensive annual investment in risk management, leadership and character-development programs that teach young men the importance of integrity and caring for others, underscored the International Fraternity’s expectations of all of its members.”

You can read the full text of the fraternity’s statement below.

Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity has learned of charges levied by the Centre County District Attorney’s Office against its former chapter at Penn State University and several former members after the death of new member Tim Piazza. The nature of those charges are incredibly disheartening as the organization and its membership continue to grieve Tim’s passing and the pain experienced by his family.

Since the incident in early February, the International Fraternity has cooperated fully with local officials in their investigation. The early findings of that investigation indicated that the behavior of several undergraduate members was in direct contradiction of the International Fraternity’s expectations and risk management policies, as well as the International Fraternity’s reputation and commitment to character development. Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity has clearly and consistently expressed its position that it does not tolerate hazing or alcohol abuse in any form by its members. The former undergraduate members were well educated by the International Fraternity and Penn State on these policies; however, they are entitled to the presumption of innocence as they face these charges.

As such, and despite the number of accolades bestowed upon the former chapter by the university in recent years, the International Fraternity stands by its decision to suspend and disband the former chapter on February 17, 2017. The International Fraternity’s policy that prohibited alcohol in the Penn State chapter house, along with the extensive annual investment in risk management, leadership and character-development programs that teach young men the importance of integrity and caring for others, underscored the International Fraternity’s expectations of all of its members.

Any request for additional communication should be directed to Jim Ewbank as legal counsel for Beta Theta Pi International Fraternity.

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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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