Jim Piazza Not Pushing To Abolish Greek Life, Seeks Nationwide Reform
Tim Piazza’s father Jim wrote an op-ed responding to the question “Should fraternities be abolished?”
His answer, which initially would have been “yes,” has changed in the months since his son’s death at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house back in February 2017.
“However, as time has passed and I’ve thought about it more, I now realize this is not a question I can or should answer. It is a question fraternities must answer for themselves,” Piazza wrote.
The Piazza family has been pushing for aggressive reform and pinpoints that as the key to success in changing Greek culture and avoiding another national tragedy.
“Fraternity misconduct, hazing, sexual assault and student deaths have become national news and the topic of conversation at the family dinner table,” Piazza wrote. “Our son’s face, and the faces of other young men whose lives were lost to a similar fate, are recognizable — for all the wrong reasons. We need reform. What happened in 2017 must never happen again.”
Piazza believes that reform starts with the university and that it must take responsibility for providing a “safe learning environment” for students. He also stated it cannot hide behind claims that fraternities are ungovernable private organizations.
Since the family’s initial disapproval of the Greek reforms Penn State put in place last June, Piazza credited President Eric Barron and the university in the op-ed for being a trailblazer for other schools in making changes to Greek life.
Piazza also said that successful reform is on the fraternities’ national organizations to cooperate with university reforms and on the legal system to stiffen hazing, sexual assault, and drinking laws. Pennsylvania is in the process of doing that with the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law, which recently passed through senate.
“The public only hears when someone dies from one of these situations, but over the last 15 months I have learned of countless situations where trusting students are severely hurt or have near-death experiences from hazing or are sexually assaulted and no one outside the ‘brotherhood’ ever knows,” Piazza wrote.
“Should fraternities be abolished? That’s not my call — but I am interested to see how the universities, national fraternities, lawmakers and the criminal justice system respond. I cannot imagine any one of them is a proponent of children dying. Now is the time to stand up and show it.”
You can read the full op-ed here.