Recent hazing deaths, changes in Greek life concern seniors


Jordan Taylor

As high schoolers, some people already have preconceived notions about whether or not they would want to join a sorority or fraternity in college. Some people like the idea of sororities and fraternities because they feel that it is a good way to meet other people and be social in college. Other people have become nervous due to the recent allegations against the Greek system on many college campuses.

February was a turning point for Greek life. Sophomore pledge Timothy Piazza, from the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at Penn State University, was announced dead in February. On Feb. 2 he was given around 18 alcoholic drinks from his fraternity brothers as a part of his hazing for pledging. The next morning he fell down multiple stairs and become unconscious. One of the brothers lifted him to a couch where he fluctuated in and out of consciousness till he walked up to another flight of stairs and collapsed down them (not being found for another few hours).

When he was found later in the day on Feb. 3 his injuries were so severe that he was taken to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The surgeons tried to operate on him, but discovered that they would not be able to save him, and proclaimed him dead on Nov. 4.

Eighteen members of the fraternity are now facing charges: eight of them are charged with involuntary manslaughter and the rest are being charged with other crimes, most of them involving hazing. Piazza’s parents said to source that “[he] was a happy and caring human being” and “a wonderful son who just wanted to join an organization to find friendships and camaraderie.”
After the death of Piazza, similar situations have occurred on college campuses all over the country. Within the last year, five other campuses have also joined the ban on Greek life: Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Texas State University, University of Michigan, and Ohio State University.

Maxwell Gruver, an 18-year-old pledge of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, from Louisiana State University, died on Sept. 14 due to an alcohol related death (his blood alcohol-level was a 0.495 when he died). Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old pledge of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, from Florida State University, died on Nov. 3 due to what the police are assuming was an alcohol-related death. Matthew Ellis, a 20-year-old pledge of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity from Texas State University died on Nov. 13 also due to alcohol and hazing from members of the fraternity.

University of Michigan and Ohio State University did not have an incident with a death of a student, but rather sexual misconduct, hazing and drug use. “It makes me scared to know that the issues are going on and not being taking care of properly,” senior Jenna Traub said.

The presidents of the schools have become aware of these issues and support the ban on Greek life, at least for now. “I hope these issues stop so that I don’t have to be worried about pledging next year,” senior Zack Lechner said.


Rachel Berman

Staff Writer