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-   -   Beta Theta Pi pledge dies at Penn State (http://www.greekchat.com/gcforums/showthread.php?t=226258)

thetalady 02-08-2017 12:35 PM

Beta Theta Pi pledge dies at Penn State
 
Such a tragic event at Beta Theta Pi at Penn State.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/que...id=LENOVODHP15

Kevin 02-08-2017 05:40 PM

Just tragic. It sounds like an awful accident. I've seen a lot of reports where people are jumping to conclusions before the facts are fully investigated.

PGD-GRAD 02-08-2017 07:15 PM

Yes, I agree that it probably was an accident. But the resulting issues are the problem: providing alcohol to minors, moving the injured party without regard to possible spinal or brain trauma and NOT calling for help immediately.
As advisors, we are so aware and constantly preach the correct response. Sadly, this could have been many national chapters at many schools. There are too many litigatable issues to even count.

Kevin 02-09-2017 10:34 PM

There are lots of good defenses too, i.e., assumption of the risk. When the school has apparently labeled it as a "pledge/hazing event," I tend to wait until the facts come out because it's going to be either ridiculously bad for Beta, or there could still be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this terrible tragedy. Time will tell. Not speculation.

ASTalumna06 02-10-2017 06:36 AM

Penn State bans fraternity parties from serving alcohol

http://www.wpxi.com/news/penn-state-...ohol/492646295

honeychile 02-10-2017 08:55 PM

Is that house fairly new? I remember going to a few parties there (a few years ago), but I don't remember it looking like that.

Kevin 02-11-2017 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASTalumna06 (Post 2427271)
Penn State bans fraternity parties from serving alcohol

http://www.wpxi.com/news/penn-state-...ohol/492646295

I really don't like it that schools do this. Now, instead of partying mostly safely at home, they'll party in rented houses all around town, then drive back to their homes. Far less safe. Kids are going to drink in college. The best thing we can do is educate them on how to do it responsibly--and a policy stating that all underage drinking is irresponsible and we're going to pretend it doesn't happen will claim lives.

Tom Earp 02-11-2017 01:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin (Post 2427207)
Just tragic. It sounds like an awful accident. I've seen a lot of reports where people are jumping to conclusions before the facts are fully investigated.

I have to agree here as we all have or could be accused of this including myself.


My main problem with this whole thing was how long it took to contact some one for help for this young man! I am very disturbed by that fact!

I also get upset with any College is when something happens the Fraternity is suspended with out a full review of all of the circumstances. But in todays enviroment, that seems to be the norm today.:(

Kevin 02-11-2017 08:34 PM

Suspended isn't the same as expelled.

33girl 02-11-2017 09:09 PM

They've "suspended" or "banned" fraternity parties at Penn State a million billion times. It usually lasts until the next upcoming vacation (thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, end of year) is over. No one wants that whole party population unleashed into the general State College area permanently.

For being the Whiskey Rebellion state, Pennsylvania has always had the most ridiculous puritanical laws toward alcohol (which of course bear no resemblance to what actual humans do). Maybe now that we're stepping firmly into the 1970s & selling beer in grocery stores, we'll also change attitudes and realize that keeping kids safe more important than busting them for drinking underage.

navane 02-12-2017 12:12 AM

Remember, Liam Neesom's wife, Natasha Richardson, fell and hit her head while skiing. She was "fine", talking and refusing medical treatment for several hours before someone finally got her to the hospital. She later died.

If the young man in this case was also intoxicated, I can understand why the others didn't fully recognize his injuries. Like Kevin said, we need to wait for the full facts to come out.

jolene 02-13-2017 03:47 PM

Just saw this article--freshman dies after night of binge drinking: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-drinking.html

*winter* 02-15-2017 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jolene (Post 2427474)
Just saw this article--freshman dies after night of binge drinking: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...-drinking.html

??? This is at MU in Ohio

ChioLu 05-06-2017 12:32 PM

18 members charged in the death.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/18-frater...210035188.html

navane 05-06-2017 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by navane (Post 2427370)
Remember, Liam Neesom's wife, Natasha Richardson, fell and hit her head while skiing. She was "fine", talking and refusing medical treatment for several hours before someone finally got her to the hospital. She later died.

If the young man in this case was also intoxicated, I can understand why the others didn't fully recognize his injuries. Like Kevin said, we need to wait for the full facts to come out.


Well...I said we should wait until the full facts are out and the facts are indeed now coming out. I've just read an article which presents a more detailed picture of what happened. The nearly hour-by-hour description of this young man's death are horrific and, apparently, the events were caught on video surveillance cameras. So sad.

The article: https://www.yahoo.com/gma/penn-state...opstories.html

honeychile 05-06-2017 10:25 PM

Horrific doesn't begin to describe Timothy Piazza's death. How did it take over 12 hours to get him to the hospital? Twelve!

Just interested 05-07-2017 04:28 PM

Saw it on CNN the other day and they were interviewing Piazza attorney. Not only was a life lost but those 18 young men have made decisions that will change their life forever.
How simple it would have been to own up to it and get help immediately and hopefully saving a life instead of covering it up and at the same time posting on social media. Duh!!!

IndianaSigKap 05-08-2017 12:24 AM

What also bothered me about the articles, one pledge brother wanted to call 911 after it happened and he was physically prevented from doing so. How could that many people show such bad judgement?

aephi alum 05-08-2017 12:57 AM

This is alarmingly similar to the case of Scott Krueger.

Scott pledged Fiji at MIT back in 1997. One evening, he and his pledge brothers were allegedly placed in a room and told they couldn't leave until they'd consumed all the alcohol in the room. Scott passed out from alcohol poisoning. The brothers were apparently afraid to call 911 that night because they didn't want to get arrested for hazing and providing alcohol to minors (real brotherly behavior!), but did so the next morning when they found he was still unconscious. He was admitted to MGH with a 0.41 BAC -- AFTER he'd been out cold for several hours. He spent a couple of days in a coma before he died.

Now all freshmen must live in the dorms. Before this, freshmen who pledged fraternities or independent living groups moved in as soon as they signed. (At the time, three out of five NPC sorority chapters had houses, and those houses weren't big enough to house all the sisters, never mind new members.) The campus is still wet, but alcohol consumption, particularly underage drinking, is more strongly policed.

This incident happened nearly twenty years ago. When will we learn?? :(

PGD-GRAD 05-08-2017 08:03 AM

This morning on "Good Morning America" Kordel Davis, a former Beta Theta Pi at Penn State, was interviewed regarding the death of Piazza. He spoke about realizing that Timothy was not just "drunk" but unconscious, needing medical help immediately; he spoke up but was ignored. He spoke of brothers worrying more about themselves and the chapter rather than one pledge's life. It was a very sad and sobering interview.

Kevin 05-08-2017 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aephi alum (Post 2431420)
This incident happened nearly twenty years ago. When will we learn?? :(

We won't so long as our membership is comprised primarily of 18-22 year olds. For the vast majority of us, nothing remotely approaching what happened in your example or with Penn State Beta ever happened and I think that is the key point to argue here.

The comments sections of so many of these articles about this PSU incident are pretty disturbing. So many people, despite in the U.S. not really having a legal leg to stand on, want to see the entire Greek system disbanded.

As much as we know about the good our groups are responsible for, we could probably do a much better job communicating that to the public because if we don't, we're going to start to see an impact in our recruiting, and if you want to look at the last 50 years in terms of participation in Greek Life, I'd say we've already felt a lot of that effect.

By refusing to do something substantial, we're making a choice to cater to and recruit the sorts of members who are responsible for a lot of the bad decision making which results in these problems.

navane 05-08-2017 01:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin (Post 2431435)
By refusing to do something substantial, we're making a choice to cater to and recruit the sorts of members who are responsible for a lot of the bad decision making which results in these problems.


I am interested in your thoughts on this. Can you expand on your statement?

PGD-GRAD 05-08-2017 03:46 PM

I just read that during last weekend's graduation ceremonies at Penn State, university officials put a "graduation hold" on any Beta member named in the official criminal investigation. The article also stated that PSU was doing its own investigation and would impose its own disciplinary sanctions.
I'm wondering: does this mean seniors will be denied their diplomas and not earn their degrees? And perhaps others will be officially kicked out of school? (The "kicked out" would not surprise me; the holding or denying of diplomas does just a bit--not saying I disagree with it.)
Has anyone heard of this being done previously?

Kevin 05-08-2017 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by navane (Post 2431442)
I am interested in your thoughts on this. Can you expand on your statement?

Our organizations are structurally designed in such a way that allows these risky behaviors to continue. I understand our organizations have to remain financially feasible, but it seems like in this case and others, we have these chapters, which by most measures are amazing chapters with 200 men, outstanding facilities, alumni support, etc.

It's time to consider some redesign work.

What happened at PSU was some sort of hazing related to initiation in some way, right?

Where were the alumni? How come they continue to tolerate this risky behavior? Why did no alumni intervene at any point? How were they able to have forced consumption of liquor as part of their pledging process and the alums be none the wiser?

We can't afford to have paid advisers living in every chapter facility and HQ isn't going to put surveillance equipment in every house. The only reasonable solution is that national organizations need to do a better job at cultivating alumni volunteers and getting buy in when those volunteers inject themselves into all aspects of the chapter.

NPC organizations are much more on top of this from what I've seen, which is why we recently added a former AXiD president to our advisory board. Why reinvent the wheel?

GreekOne 05-08-2017 05:12 PM

Sadly, this chapter did have a paid adviser living in the house. There is no way that he could have been unaware of what was going on. Even with that level of support, there was a problem. I agree with you, Kevin, that NPC groups do a much better job of regulating this than IFC chapters. I would say, that it is because from my experience, both as a collegian, parent of my legacy daughter and chapter adviser our organization does not haze. I can't speak to the other NPC groups. But, my husband was hazed and he believes it to be part of his chapter's culture. If he were to serve as an adviser, he would be far more tolerant than I would be. I don't know why this behavior is so prevalent with the men's organizations but it seems to be common place. Perhaps the men that won't endure it, drop from pledging. Those that remain are the ones that believe it is a necessary part of the process for a bond to develop. We women learned long ago that this is not the case.

Kevin 05-08-2017 05:19 PM

This is a big reason why when I have the opportunity to discuss expansion with anyone from our Headquarters, I am emphatic about the need to expand into new territory rather than reopen closed chapters.

Those closed chapters are closed for a reason--their members, now alumni, were part of a bad culture. Reopen those chapters and those same alumni are going to come back--and just as soon as the expansion consultant is wheels up, those bad practices are going to start seeping back in.

As founding members, we took our jobs very seriously and ensured that structurally, alumni would be a big part of events which are where most of your hazing takes place. It is no accident that our badge no. 1 is now a highly sought after consultant in the area of organizational development and leadership.

NPC groups decided years ago to get serious about this issue--to declare housing dry, to truly eliminate hazing. In doing so, I think it's safe to say that on the whole, NPC groups are vastly more successful than their counterparts.

It's time for us to get with the times or die a slow death.

naraht 05-08-2017 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GreekOne (Post 2431449)
Sadly, this chapter did have a paid adviser living in the house. There is no way that he could have been unaware of what was going on. Even with that level of support, there was a problem. I agree with you, Kevin, that NPC groups do a much better job of regulating this than IFC chapters. I would say, that it is because from my experience, both as a collegian, parent of my legacy daughter and chapter adviser our organization does not haze. I can't speak to the other NPC groups. But, my husband was hazed and he believes it to be part of his chapter's culture. If he were to serve as an adviser, he would be far more tolerant than I would be. I don't know why this behavior is so prevalent with the men's organizations but it seems to be common place. Perhaps the men that won't endure it, drop from pledging. Those that remain are the ones that believe it is a necessary part of the process for a bond to develop. We women learned long ago that this is not the case.

I'd say *some* of it can be tied to the fact that the NPC sororities never dealt with the men who had endured military service and training (and thus military hazing) in World War II and then after the war came back and restarted (either de jure or de facto) the chapters.

Kevin 05-08-2017 05:32 PM

My chapter has several veterans and active duty members. Enduring military service is no excuse to haze. I understand the historical implications, but when we are killing kids who would not otherwise be dead, our organizations shouldn't be in the position of saying they only kill x number of kids and that 99.9% are going to be fine. I don't think that's a great way to sell our product.

GreekOne 05-08-2017 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by naraht (Post 2431452)
I'd say *some* of it can be tied to the fact that the NPC sororities never dealt with the men who had endured military service and training (and thus military hazing) in World War II and then after the war came back and restarted (either de jure or de facto) the chapters.

That is a very interesting perspective that I had never considered. It is a history and a chain that somehow needs to be broken; or we will continue to see stories like this one repeating themselves.

Sen's Revenge 05-09-2017 02:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin (Post 2431451)
This is a big reason why when I have the opportunity to discuss expansion with anyone from our Headquarters, I am emphatic about the need to expand into new territory rather than reopen closed chapters.

Those closed chapters are closed for a reason--their members, now alumni, were part of a bad culture. Reopen those chapters and those same alumni are going to come back--and just as soon as the expansion consultant is wheels up, those bad practices are going to start seeping back in.

This is deep. I will be thinking about this for a while.

JonInKC 05-09-2017 05:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin (Post 2431435)

The comments sections of so many of these articles about this PSU incident are pretty disturbing. So many people, despite in the U.S. not really having a legal leg to stand on, want to see the entire Greek system disbanded.

These commenters should be careful what they wish for. Here's the thing. You and I both know that "abolishing" Greek life would only make the chapters go underground. Once divorced from the University and off campus, the school would have zero control on anything that went on. Like you mentioned, freedom of association. By allowing use of campus facilities/property the school has some control of Greek life.

If they think it's bad now, imagine if every chapter went sub rosa and there were no rules.

I guess if we got rid of fraternities and sororities 18-21 year olds would quit doing stupid things, right?

Kevin 05-09-2017 08:32 AM

Agreed, but NIC organizations need to take steps to ensure that when (not if) their members do the stupid things, they are not on chapter property, doing those things in furtherance of their organization's goals or doing the stupid things as members of those groups.

I agree, 18-22 year olds are going to continue to do stupid things. Let them go be stupid on their own and not be stupid as members of our organizations. Wet housing, informal parties where alcohol is served to underage members are things we can address right now.

NPC organizations have dealt with this and pushed all of the liability onto the NIC groups. They are flourishing. It's time for us to admit that these ladies have been a lot more visionary than we have and follow suit.

shadokat 05-09-2017 12:39 PM

Kevin,

PREACH MY FRIEND!!! I was having this discussion at our Greek Alumni Council meeting 2 weeks ago. The fraternities at my alma mater continue to haze and do stupid stuff and THEY are the reason that they aren't successful. It also doesn't help that my alma mater has locals. But they don't understand why the number of men going through recruitment for fraternities is 20...for like 10 fraternities!!! And the two newest groups on campus, both national fraternities have a close and watchful eye over their new chapters to ensure they are doing things right. Other fraternities on campus look at these two new fraternities as a joke...they don't earn their letters. I hate to sound callous but the only letters this kid got to earn was RIP. And Beta is the reason why.

Truly, all organizations have to up their standards, or this becomes the culture.

Kevin 05-09-2017 05:36 PM

Sadly, our NIC chapters don't have a culture problem, we have an alumni problem. Alumni are the only group of people who can ensure a continuity of culture. Alumni, through a membership review or chapter receivership (available in most groups, I'd assume) process can completely alter the course of a chapter by summarily excusing any number of brothers from membership. Most NIC national organizations invest very little in the way of alumni training and development and sadly, that's the only group which can dependably and affordably handle the heavy lifting.

Schools can also be helpful. As an organizational adviser, I have to attend a training bi-annually with the school's student life office. Schools could also conduct regular investigations into organizations where they have even a whiff of hazing activity. On my campus, at least when I was undergrad eons ago, it was pretty common knowledge who hazed because it wasn't a well-kept secret. I don't really follow other organizations now, but I doubt that's different.

Those two new organizations need to be empowered to chart their own path or else they are prone to falling into the campus culture. Every few years, something horrible happens and a national group gives a lot of lip service to change, but nothing ever really seems to change.

No one can hassle me though, we've got things buttoned up at Central Oklahoma.

Just interested 05-09-2017 11:20 PM

An anthropologist is probably, as we speak, writing a book on this behavior. Tribal groups have had "hazing" initiation ceremonies since the dawn of time for their "boys" to become "men". I would just think that after thousands of years to evolve this behavior or right of passage would have changed and have become more ceremonial than an actually harming and dangerous. My "Hazing" 50 years ago consisted of holding a match and reciting the Greek alphabet before by fingers burned, getting my pledge book filled with a signature of all the members of the chapter and their favorite things, and doing phone duty at the House. I still to this day don't believe I was "hazed" but NPC has put the hammer down and saved sorority life for generations to come. I don't know if NIC is willing or able to take the stand.

LaneSig 05-10-2017 09:10 AM

http://abc13.com/news/timeline-in-ho...death/1972965/

The timeline of the events of the evening are--I'm actually at a loss for words. Horrible? Unbelievable? Appalling? None of these feel like enough.

Every NIC chapter should be required to read this when school starts in August. The only problem is that guys (of all ages) tend to think "Nah, it wouldn't happen to us."

ASTalumna06 05-11-2017 07:55 AM

President Barron Appears On Today Show To Discuss Beta Theta Pi And Changes Going Forward

http://onwardstate.com/2017/05/10/pr...going-forward/

Quote:

Friday after charges against Beta Theta Pi brothers dropped, Barron addressed the media and spoke about the level of secrecy fraternities and sororities go to in hopes of breaking regulations. He reiterated those sentiments Wednesday, saying if behind closed doors a group of people are willing to band together, keep something secret, and not tell anyone, how is it that universities can manage to deal with a situation like that.

The only real tool we have in the tool box is to take away the recognition for a house, Barron said. Its private property. Its a private house. Its privately managed. It has a national organization that is involved there. It has alumni that are there. The only tool that Penn State has to be effective is to say youre no longer a student organization.

GreekOne 05-11-2017 02:03 PM

I think this poses another interesting question. One would hope that women would have intervened.

http://www.philly.com/philly/columni...rat-death.html

33girl 05-11-2017 03:29 PM

First off, the flippant tone in that article is highly inappropriate.

From what I've read, the social took place before the "gauntlet" began and the women had all left. They've cooperated with the police and told them all they know. I wonder if the author would have written such an article if it were an NPC sorority chapter instead.

As for quoting Hank Nuwer, his credibility is questionable. He's called a lot of things hazing that are not.

Kevin 05-11-2017 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 33girl (Post 2431569)
He's called a lot of things hazing that are not.

That's a big problem with the stats out there. I'd guess that most research is based upon FIPG numbers. The FIPG exists to ensure our organizations against loss. It does not exist to protect our members against liability. Anything they can call "hazing" means they can make an argument that they are not liable for the "hazing" because of all of the things they do to prevent the hazing.

For example, the study called Initial Findings from the National Study on Student Hazing in 2008 headlines with the idea that 55% of college students involved in clubs or other organizations experience hazing.

It then goes on to include "drinking games" as a form of hazing. That's a pretty broad category, right?

"I never" is a drinking game and so is the Penn State Beta Gauntlet. Only one of those is something I would ever call hazing. It's such a loaded word that it makes the discussion of hazing very difficult to give real meaning to.


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