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President Barron, Piazzas Discuss Relationship In Battle Against Hazing On ‘CBS This Morning’

Penn State President Eric Barron and the parents of Tim Piazza, the Penn State student who died following a hazing ritual at the on-campus Beta Theta Pi fraternity house in February 2017, appeared on “CBS This Morning” in their mission to prevent future tragedies.

The interview comes after the settlement between the Piazzas and Beta Theta Pi nationals, which led to sweeping reform in chapters of the fraternity across the nation, and the North-American Interfraternity Conference announcement of new restrictions on hard liquor.

While Barron and the Piazzas have often discussed in the past their intentions moving forward, little about the relationship between the two parties has been touched on. 

The university misstep of not sending a representative to Piazza’s funeral and the damning December grand jury presentment that indicated Penn State was largely too hands off with Greek life didn’t paint the picture that the two would start working together, but the Piazzas saw a window for change by moving forward with the relationship.

“We thought you know we can kind of go to battle with [Barron] and the university or we can try to work with him and try to effectuate change,” Jim Piazza, Tim’s father, told CBS. “Not that we don’t have our differences, we do, and there are things that we don’t agree on. We don’t agree on everything but it’s important for us to work closely with him, with the university to make changes here.”

Penn State recently invited the Piazzas to speak to Greek life leaders ahead of the new school year.

“We’ve gotten really good feedback. We’ve had young men look us in the eyes, burst into tears, give us hugs, and just promise us that it wasn’t going to happen on their watch,” Evelyn Piazza, Tim’s mother, said.

Barron also noted during his interview with CBS that the university is working with the Piazzas to support the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law.

Overall, both parties see progress in their efforts — continuing the push to for greater recognition of the national hazing issue.

“There is substantial change in awareness,” Barron said. “I think that gives us a lot more strength to begin to move forward aggressively in fixing it but we’re not done yet.”

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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