Jim and Evelyn Piazza believe a fraternity killed their child.
The night was Feb. 2, 2017. And Evelyn had to fight through tears to describe what that particular date meant for her son.
“He gets to sit in a mausoleum,” she told TIME magazine. “Everyone else gets to go on with their lives.”
That night Timothy Piazza suffered fatal injuries from the excessive alcohol he and other pledges were forced to guzzle at a frat-house hazing in Pennsylvania. He stumbled down a staircase and suffered a fractured skull, multiple traumatic brain injuries and a lacerated spleen, reports USA TODAY. His blood-alcohol level had been roughly four times the legal limit for driving.
This is the Greek system's legacy
The fraternity was Beta Theta Pi at Penn State University. And its school charter no longer exists. It was stripped after Timothy Piazza’s death.
The Betas didn’t invent any of this — the geyser of beer, the bags of wine, the shots of vodka followed by absolute, criminal indifference.
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This is the legacy of the Greek system at American colleges and universities, a recurring tale of debauchery and disregard for the well-being of young people. It’s a cultural problem in the United States that says college is a time to cut loose and get high before the rigors of life come calling.
On Tuesday, in one of the most significant anti-hazing decisions in history, a Pennsylvania judge ruled the party is over.
He sentenced three Beta fraternity brothers to jail for their role in the hazing death of 19-year-old Piazza. A fourth was sentenced to house arrest.
The message now: Grow up
The court’s rejoinder should now be taken up and waved by every college and university president, every high school teacher, every guidance counselor, every mother and father with a high school graduate. And here's the message:
“The time for childish things is over. When you’re entering a university, you’re entering an adult environment that no longer tolerates childish ways.
“Those nasty Greek rituals that purport to separate the wheat from the chaff, the beautiful from the plain, the rich from the poor, the white from the brown, are not fit for college campuses.
“College is where you engage the world, not square off in tidy little cliques. Your world is growing more advanced and more competitive and you had better take it seriously these next several years. Party animals and frat houses are the artifacts of a less serious time.
“You don’t have that luxury.”
Four fraternity brothers are losing their freedom because they bought into the idiocy of our culture that thinks college students should be soaking their brains in alcohol and hooking up for four straight years. That’s self-destruction. It's madness.
On Tuesday, a gavel sounded for sanity.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Penn State hazing sentence sends a message to frat boys, college students: Grow up