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Good questions to ponder following Pennsylvania convictions with punishment for national, too

From activist JULIE DEVERCELLY: Who wants this fraternity in their state? Not I! Who does the fine go to? Who will oversee that the fraternity ceases to exist in Pennsylvania for ten years? What criteria will be used to determine if they are allowed back? Will the fraternity be required to post this information on their national website as well as on all chapters sites? So many ??????

Moderator: One answer at a time…we journalists must get these important questions answered. Thank you to Julie, a nationally known Clery Center activist and mother of hazing victim Gary. –Hank Nuwer

PS Here is latest from Inside Higher Education:

Excerpt from Inside Education article by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

The case attracted national attention amid a culture with far less patience for hazing than was the case in previous decades and more willingness among prosecutors to pursue aggressive charges, experts have said.

Also of note was that the national fraternity chapter was successfully prosecuted, a relatively rare strategy. Pi Delta Psi, the national branch of which did not respond to a request for comment, was charged with aggravated assault and involuntary manslaughter. It was ordered to pay more than $112,000 in fines and cannot operate in the state where Deng died for 10 years. It has two chapters in the state — one is inactive at Carnegie Mellon University, the other is at Pennsylvania State University. Neither chapter was involved in the hazing that killed Deng.

“I think these are actually extraordinary times in terms of frustrations on [the] part of fraternities and schools how to stop hazing,” said Hank Nuwer, a journalism professor at Franklin College who has written extensively about hazing and fatalities. “This case here imposes something that will send and already has sent tremors through the Greek world.”

Never before has a fraternity or sorority been barred from an entire state, Nuwer said. Only individual chapters have been shut down for long periods in the past.

While the judge’s ruling will only affect the two Pennsylvania chapters, Nuwer said, he posed what would happen if the same punishment were to come in the case of Timothy Piazza, a Penn State Beta Theta Pi pledge who died after a night of forced heavy drinking.

Piazza tumbled 15 feet down a flight of steps last February and struck his head multiple times. He suffered from extensive internal bleeding, but his fellow fraternity members did not call 911 until the next morning; instead they tried to wake him after he became unconscious by splashing liquid on his face.

Nuwer said harsher penalties may send a message to fraternities.

“It seems #metoo and other zero-tolerance movements toward behavior problems [are] finally hitting the hazing issue,” he said.

A total 37 people were initially charged in the Deng case, including five Pi Delta Psi members charged with third-degree murder. Four of them later pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a deal with prosecutors and were sentenced Monday. Three of the men received up to 24 months in jail, and the fourth, who could not previously make bail, was sentenced to time served after spending 342 days in jail.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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