Penn State announces new restrictions on greek life

Beta Theta Pi
Beta Theta Pi fraternity house located on Burrowes Street. (PHOTO: Joseph DiDomenico)

State College, Pa. – Penn State University announced a new set of restrictions on Greek life Thursday in an effort to gather more details surrounding the death of PSU student Timothy Piazza.

According to detectives at the State College Police Department, excessive alcohol consumption and Fraternity Hazing activities may have been circumstances surrounding the death of Piazza, one of fourteen who were present at the fraternity for a bid acceptance ceremony.

The Fall 2017 fraternity and sorority rush have been cancelled and postponed to 2018. Furthermore, the amount of social events a Greek organization may host is also limited.

Additionally, Beta Theta Pi will permanently lose recognition at Penn State, according to a press release. Fraternities and sororities may only offer beer and wine at events, banning beer kegs. The prohibition of underage drinking will be strongly enforced.

New Rules for Fraternities and Sororities via The Collegian

  • Formal recruitment of new fraternity and sorority members, also known as rush, will be deferred from fall to spring semester for both fraternities and sororities in the 2017-18 academic year. Requirements for students to participate in recruitment thereafter will include completion of at least 12 credits while enrolled full-time. In consultation with various constituents within the Penn State greek community and their national organizations, other requirements and the possibility of deferring rush until a student’s sophomore year will be considered for 2018-19. Further discussion about the size of new membership classes within these organizations will be part of an ongoing review.
  • New social restrictions will include a strongly enforced prohibition against underage possession or consumption of alcohol in chapter houses and activities. Service of alcohol at social events must follow Pennsylvania law (e.g. limited to those 21 years of age or older), and must be distributed by Reasonable Alcohol Management Program trained servers only, though third-party, licensed RAMP certified servers are preferred. Only beer and wine may be served, and kegs will not be permitted.
  • Attendance at social events will be limited to the legal capacity of the chapter house. No day-long events will be allowed, and no more than 10 socials with alcohol per semester will be permitted for each chapter, a reduction from the current limit of 45, which was established by Penn State’s Interfraternity Council.
  • Failure by the greek organizations to effectively prevent underage consumption and excessive drinking in their facilities and activities may lead the university to adopt further restrictions, including the possibility of declaring that the system must be completely dry.
  • These social restrictions will be enforced by a new monitoring protocol that will use both third parties and a combination of student leadership and university staff. When discovered, any violations of these expectations will result in appropriate and significant disciplinary action.
  • There will be no tolerance for hazing in these organizations, as all hazing is a violation of Pennsylvania law. Hazing that involves alcohol or serious physical abuse will likely lead to loss of university recognition. Increased educational programming focused on preventing hazing will be mandatory for all chapter members.