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Penn State Placed Graduation Hold on Charged Beta Theta Pi Seniors

by on May 12, 2017 3:35 PM

Many questions have been posed in the week since District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller held a press conference to reveal the findings of the grand jury investigation into Beta Theta Pi and the death of student Timothy Piazza.

Following the charges against the 18 former members of Beta Theta Pi, among those questions was whether or not the charged seniors would be allowed to graduate.

According to a FAQ page the university launched Friday, former Beta members who were planning to graduate last weekend were not able to do so, as Penn State placed them on hold while it begins its student conduct disciplinary process.

“A graduation hold was placed on any student named in the grand jury presentment who was scheduled to graduate in the spring,” the university responds on the FAQ page. “We will begin University disciplinary proceedings against individual students involved in this matter, now that the results of the criminal investigation have been released.”

The university has yet to comment on what the potential consequences of the student conduct disciplinary investigation may be.

“Penn State has focused for more than a decade on issues of excessive alcohol consumption and hazing, but like many other universities and colleges across the country these remain a serious challenge,” the introduction of the FAQ page reads. “It should go without saying that hazing and underage drinking are illegal and not permitted by the University. Penn State has and will continue to educate its students about these issues and will hold them accountable whenever it learns of such wrongdoing.”

Questions and answers on the page go on to detail the regulations Penn State imposed for Greek life moving forward, the university’s permanent ban on Beta Theta Pi and temporary ban on Sigma Alpha Mu fraternities, medical amnesty policies in State College and with Penn State, and education programs students go through about topics like medical amnesty, alcohol abuse, and hazing.

The situation begs the question, “Will Penn State ban all of Greek life?”

“Failure by Penn State’s Greek-letter organizations to effectively prevent underage consumption of alcohol and excessive drinking, hazing and assault may lead the University to adopt further restrictions, including the possibility of declaring that the system must be completely dry.  We are hopeful that our fraternities and sororities are as determined as Penn State to avoid outcomes that threaten their continued success,” the page reads. “As Penn State President Barron indicated in a recent blog post, the positives provided by the Greek-life community are worth protecting – but in order for that to occur, change is needed.”


Elissa Hill is managing editor for Onward State.
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