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Gov. Wolf Expected to Sign Timothy Piazza Antihazing Law

by on October 15, 2018 8:11 PM

New anti-hazing legislation introduced following the death of Penn State student and fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza was unanimously approved by the Pennsylvania Senate on Monday and is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf's desk to be signed into law.

Initially approved by the Senate in the spring, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman's bill was passed with minor amendments by the House last week before getting its final vote. Wolf indicated on Monday he will sign the bill when he receives it.

“I thank Senator Corman and bipartisan members of the legislature for getting this important bill to my desk,” Wolf said. “Hazing is counter to the experience we want for college students in Pennsylvania. We must give law enforcement the tools to hold people accountable and ensure schools have safeguards to protect students and curb hazing.”

Corman, R-Benner Township, worked with the Piazza family to develop the Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law, which has received support from Penn State leadership and interfraternity councils statewide.

“The Piazza family has shown great courage through the journey to see this plan to the Governor’s desk,” Corman said. “They have made changing the law in Pennsylvania — and nationally — their movement to ensure that Tim’s death has not been in vain. When signed into law, good, meaningful reforms will come from their unspeakable tragedy.”

Corman said the legislation is "one of the most significant reforms in the country" designed to put an end to hazing.

Currently, hazing is classified as third-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. Under the new law, hazing that results in bodily injury to a student remains a misdemeanor. However, hazing that results in serious bodily injury or death is classified as aggravated hazing, a third-degree felony.

New organizational and institutional hazing provisions also are included in the legislation for entities  that knowingly or recklessly allow hazing or aggravated hazing to occur.

A safe harbor clause for students who call for emergency help for an individual who has been hazed also is included. Similar to the state's drug overdose immunity law, the person who calls for help and waits with the victim for emergency personnel to arrive would be immune from prosecution for hazing.

It also establishes clear parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororitiesl requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and ensures that parents and students are provided with information related to the issue.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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