Penn State Bans Frats, Latin Plans for Future

Annabel Edwards On February 2, Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old from New Jersey died from injuries of falling down a set a stairs at the Beta Theta Pi house at Penn State University. He was one of fourteen sophomore pledges. He fell the stairs of the frat house at the “accepted ceremony” after party. Although he was injured, he was not given any medical attention until 12 hours after his fall. The sophomore was then transferred to a Medical Center where he died two days later. A week after his tragic death, Penn State announced that the Beta Theta Pi fraternity would be banned from all Greek life for at least the next five years. All members are to leave the house and no undergraduate may continue as a member of this chapter of Beta Theta Pi. In addition to Beta’s consequences, Penn State also placed harsher restriction on the entire Greek community on campus. The university announced a continued ban on all social activities involving alcohol for the remainder of both the current and spring semesters. Penn State has also assured that there will be a halt to all hazing of new members of frats, and that they have continued to enforce the consequences of underage drinking, sexual assault, and hazing on campus. Unfortunately, Penn State is not the only school facing problems. Universities across the country have continued to enforce stricter punishments and sanctions; however, this has done little to change the process of hazing, sexual assault, and alcohol use. Piazza’s death demonstrates one of the many disturbing effects of alcohol and fraternities. Since the Greek community is a large part of the “college experience,” we cannot expect to completely eliminate fraternities or sororities from every university, but maybe there are other solutions to reduce students’ deaths due to alcohol. A question arises of why fraternities are allowed to throw parties in their houses, but sororities are not. Maybe if universities completely eliminated the authorization of fraternity parties, similar to the rules applied to sororities, then there would be a change in injuries. However, most deaths and injuries cannot be fixed just from eliminating frat parties. No matter what, students will still continue to drink and party. In theory, there is no way to prevent parties at colleges. There are only ways to prepare students, demonstrate the weight of responsibility they face in college with their choices in social events, and enforce the sanctions each student will face if found breaking school rules including alcohol. As Latin students, we know the awful consequences of alcohol, visible on college campuses. However, since we are still in high school, we are given the chance to prepare for these responsibilities in college. For sophomores this year, Eduardo, a speaker on substance abuse, came to Latin to talk about his struggles with addiction in high school shaped his life. The seniors watched the movie The Hunting Ground and participated in discussions about sexual assault and choices in college. One senior said, “the movie allowed us to have open discussions, and it was a great way to allow people to know what we should think about in preparation for next year.” The only real solution is for each student to care for themselves and one another and to recognize when to stop before it is too late. If we students pay attention to opportunities Latin gives us to prepare and learn how to we make choices, and we learn ourselves how to hold responsibilities in high school, we will hopefully be prepared for college.  ]]>