Hazing News

Why the Tim Piazza settlement victory matters: you can lose the house

Well-written piece from an attorney’s viewpoint: Tom Kline, Esq.


Known as the Timothy J Piazza  law,” the legislation was put forth by Senate Majority leader Jake Corman, a Centre County Republican, in response to the death of Pennsylvania State University student Tim Piazza, who died in 2017 following a booze-fueled fraternity party where hazing is alleged. Eight fraternity members initially were charged with felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter in his death, but a Centre County judge dismissed those charges.

The new legislation would make hazing a third-degree felony in the case of serious bodily injury or death, punishable by up to seven years in prison. It also would pave the way for fraternity houses used in hazing to be seized.

No other state has such a forfeiture provision for hazing, according to Hank Nuwer, a hazing expert and professor at Franklin College, and few states call the crime a felony.

“In my opinion, it’s trying to overcome the loopholes that have seen the harshest charges in the death of Tim Piazza dropped,” Nuwer said of the legislation. “And I agree with that.”

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; 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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