Pennsylvania Senators have unanimously voted to send the House a proposal that would make the most severe hazing a felony and permit confiscation of frat houses where hazing has occurred. The bill was inspired by the death of Tim Piazza, a Penn State pledge who passed away in 2017 after a night of heavy drinking.
The bill, titled the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law, defines hazing as “conditioning acceptance into a group on breaking the law; consuming food, booze or drugs that put someone in emotional or physical harm; having them endure “brutality” that includes whipping, beating, branding, calisthenics or exposure to severe weather; or putting people through sleep deprivation, “exclusion from social conduct” or extreme embarrassment.”
Majority Leader Jake Corman, a Republican who represents the Penn State area that is the main sponsor of the bill, said the changes are designed to give prosecutors more flexibility in addressing instances of hazing.
via Onward State:
The new Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law would create a tiered system for grading hazing offenses, stronger penalties, and new requirements for enforcement and reporting by educational institutions.
“Tougher penalties for hazers will elevate the seriousness of the crime, and the Safe Harbor provision will remove barriers for and protect those who call for help when someone needs medical assistance, which we hope would increase safety and reporting,” the councils wrote.
Penn State President Eric Barron and the university itself have been ardent supporters of stricter hazing laws since Piazza’s death in February 2017. Now-former Student Body President Katie Jordan also released a letter in support of the proposed anti-hazing law upon its introduction, urging students to encourage their local representatives to support the legislation.
Tim Piazza passed away on February 4, 2017, after suffering major internal injuries from a fall during pledge night activities at the Beta Theta Pi house at Penn State. Piazza, 19, was a 2015 graduate of Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Readington Township. He was a pledge of the fraternity’s Alpha Upsilon Chapter. Piazza was studying engineering while attending the university.
Last week, fraternities from all across the state of Pennsylvania wrote a letter to state legislators in support of Tim’s Law.