Message still lost on frats
“Fraternities just aren’t getting it” was the headline of a Mirror editorial on Nov. 10, 2017.
The editorial began: “The senseless death of a Penn State University fraternity pledge in February, reported nationwide, should have made every fraternity and sorority — at every college and university across America — stop and think about their activities and conduct, going forward.”
Now, more than two years after the February 2017 death of Timothy Piazza of New Jersey at a pledge acceptance ceremony at a Penn State fraternity house, the extensive investigation, criminal charges and court proceedings that followed; the abundance of news coverage, by way of both the print and electronic media; and the parental and general public concern that the tragic incident spawned, Penn State has had another unconscionable fraternity-related incident in recent days.
Fortunately, this latest incident hasn’t involved a fatality, although there was what The Associated Press described as a “serious injury” in its report about the incident that was printed in the Mirror’s April 13 edition.
According to that AP report, the alleged incident involved misuse of alcohol, which was part of the root cause of Piazza’s death.
Yes, it’s abundantly clear that “fraternities just aren’t getting it.”
That’s been further confirmed by the April 17 death of a State University of New York at Buffalo freshman, about six days after he allegedly was subjected to hazing by members of the Sigma Pi fraternity at an off-campus house.
Buffalo police were said to be investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved as part of the activities that began April 11 and ended about 12:30 a.m. April 12 when “a person who appeared to be unconscious” was carried out to the front lawn of the house.
The Nov. 10, 2017, Mirror editorial focused in large part on the death of a Florida State University fraternity pledge, who died Nov. 3 of that year after being found unresponsive following a party.
Between Piazza’s death and the death at Florida State, Louisiana State University dealt with a similar tragedy — the hazing death of an 18-year-old student.
Following Piazza’s death, Penn State imposed a crackdown on fraternities and sororities that included a ban on alcohol at fraternity-related social events on the main campus for the rest of that semester, a ban on beer kegs at fraternity events, limits on the size of fraternity party attendance, and new rules on when fraternity and sorority recruiting could be held.
The fraternity to which Piazza was pledging — Beta Theta Pi — was prohibited from ever reopening at the university.
Following the latest Penn State incident, the university imposed an interim suspension on the Theta Chi fraternity.
Florida State and Louisiana State also took action in regard to their Greek-letter organizations, but none of what’s been done at any campus “visited” by such tragedies apparently has been enough to end the senseless conduct that obviously persists.
After the Florida State death, the university’s president lamented that “for whatever reason, the message is not getting through.”
Even Penn State’s Altoona campus hasn’t avoided tragedy related to fraternity activities.
“Fraternities just aren’t getting it,” but at some universities the “life span” of all Greek-letter organizations should be cut short if dangerous, irresponsible and unlawful conduct doesn’t cease.