October 04, 2017
Penn State University has placed a fraternity on interim suspension after a freshman student was found unconscious last week near the State College campus.
The incident – which occurred as a criminal trial looms against members of another campus fraternity in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza in February – was first reported by StateCollege.com.
It took place last Thursday and investigators believe the 18-year-old student found unconscious had been drinking at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. Police found the student, who was not identified, about a mile and a half from the house on East Hamilton Avenue. He was hospitalized and said to be recovering, according to a university spokeswoman.
An investigation into the incident is being handled by the university's Office of Student Conduct.
“The potential involvement of Delta Tau Delta is very disturbing news, given all of the recent efforts and education that have gone into emphasizing student safety,” Damon Sims, vice president of student affairs, said in a statement. “None of us can be tolerant of organizations or individuals who value access to alcohol above student welfare. We’ll see where our investigation of this incident leads.”
Penn State has cracked down on underage drinking and Greek life in the months after the death of sophomore Timothy Piazza, who suffered fatal injuries when he fell down a staircase during an alcohol-fueled pledge event. Fraternity brothers at Beta Theta Pi, which has since been shut down, failed to get Piazza medical attention for nearly 12 hours.
As a result of Piazza's death, 14 members of Beta Theta Pi will head to trial on reckless endangerment and alcohol-related charges.
The university subsequently imposed strict social restrictions on Greek organizations, limiting their alcohol privileges to beer and wine served by RAMP-certified providers at 10 events per semester, down from 45. Fraternity and sorority recruitment also has been shifted from the fall to the spring semester, and minimum academic requirements have been implemented for participation in rush events.