University leadership plans significant change for Greek-letter community

May 22, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As the University community continues to mourn the death of student Timothy Piazza, our thoughts remain with Tim’s family and friends for the devastating heartbreak they are experiencing. We will always mourn this, and we are committed to honoring the Piazza family’s desire to have meaningful student safety improvements come out of this tragedy.

Penn State administrators and the University’s Board of Trustees will gather in a special off-cycle meeting June 2 to consider a comprehensive set of recommendations to ensure significant change following the death of a student at the now permanently banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

“The safety of our students and campus community is of paramount importance, and we are resolved to take decisive action,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “There are no easy solutions, but we will leave no stone unturned as we search for the most effective ways to achieve change.”

Although it is too early to discuss specifics, President Barron said the University is considering a number of options that will depart drastically from measures commonly employed at institutions nationwide.

To date, the University has independently initiated aggressive actions to tackle problems that challenge so many American universities. They include: 

  • Deferred pledging (rush) from fall to spring semester for both fraternities and sororities in the 2017-18 academic year.
  • As before, service of alcohol at social events must follow Pennsylvania law, limited to people 21 years of age or older, and now must be distributed by RAMP trained servers.
  • Only beer and wine may be served. Kegs not permitted.
  • Social events must be limited to the legal capacity of the chapter house.
  • No day-long events allowed, and a significant reduction in the number of permitted socials with alcohol per semester.
  • We have emphasized there will be no tolerance for hazing.
  • Increased mandatory educational programming for all chapter members.

“Underage and dangerous drinking, sexual misconduct and hazing are complex issues that vex universities and colleges across the nation,” Barron said. “We are committed to taking the steps necessary to promote the safety and well-being of our students.”

The board will meet in executive session from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The public meeting of the board will be held at 1 p.m. in Room 208 of The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center, with overflow for public viewing in Room 207. The public meeting will be live streamed at

Last Updated May 22, 2017