A grand jury’s report following the drinking death of a Pennsylvania State University student says school officials showed “a shocking apathy” to a dangerous pattern of hazing and excessive alcohol consumption cultivated by fraternity life on campus.
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The report, released Friday by a Pennsylvania district attorney, recommends a number of changes that Penn State should undertake in the wake of the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza in February.
“The system didn’t protect Tim and didn’t protect others,” Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said at a press conference. “Tim didn’t have to die.”
The report says school officials “were aware of the excessive and dangerous alcohol abuse indulged by fraternities, such that it was only a matter of time before a death would occur during a hazing event.”
“The grand jury finds that Penn State administrators received complaints regarding alcohol abuse by Beta brothers and, while only accusations, this grand jury finds that Penn State administrators displayed a shocking apathy to the potential danger associated with doing nothing,” the report continues. “The grand jury concludes that the university knew or should have known of these dangers.”
Among other recommendations, the report calls on Penn State to curb excessive drinking rather than hold a student-run Interfraternity Council responsible, and to expel students involved in hazing after they are “afforded full due process rights.” The report urges state lawmakers to pass stricter legislation to deter hazing and underage drinking.
“The university bears the ultimate responsibility for the failure to supervise the safety of its students involved in the fraternity system,” the report says. “While the Grand Jury recognizes that criminal acts directly caused Tim’s death at the hands of named individuals and the fraternity as a whole, Penn State’s inaction set the table to allow these criminal acts to occur.”
A Penn State spokesperson did not immediately have a comment when reached by ABC News.
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