Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed off on an anti-hazing bill on Friday named for the Penn State hazing victim Timothy Piazza, who died in 2017.
Piazza, 19, was excessively drinking at his fraternity house Beta Theta Pi during an initiation ritual for new pledges. He fell down the stairs and sustained multiple injuries and was not taken to the hospital until the next morning.
The Timothy J. Piazza Anti-hazing Law, or “Tim’s Law,” is designed to prevent more deaths due to hazing by requiring schools to have stricter policies and reporting procedures when it comes to hazing.
Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Power says the bill is a “crucial component” in the battle against hazing, reports CNN.
“This law, when passed, in conjunction with aggressive safety and related measures the university has implemented, is another step toward our mutual goal to increase student safety on campuses,” Power said.
The Beta Theta Pi national organization agreed to publicly endorse the bill as well as other terms in a settlement with the Piazza family.
Under the new law, those found guilty of hazing could be fined, put on probation, expelled, or have their diplomas withheld.
Jim and Evelyn Piazza, Tim’s parents, have become anti-hazing advocates since the death of their son and joined Gov. Wolf at the signing, according to ABC News.
They hope the signing of the bill in Pa., will encourage schools around the country to make changes in their hazing policies as well.
“We urge lawmakers throughout the country to take a look at their current hazing statutes…and consider implementing legislation that is the same or similar,” Jim Piazza said.
Other provisions of the bill require institutions to:
- Adopt a written policy against hazing.
- Have a program to implement the policy and enforce penalties for violations of the policy such as fines, withholding diplomas, revoking recognition of organization, probation, suspension, dismissal or expulsion.
- Maintain a report of all violation of the institution’s anti-hazing policy or state and federal laws related to hazing.
- Establish safe-harbor criteria that will protect someone from prosecution for involvement in a hazing incident if they are seeking assistance for someone who needs help.
“Tim’s tragic experience has led to real change…together, we will protect students and hold accountable those who engage in [hazing],” Wolf said. “We mourn for Tim’s loss with his family, and while we can never fix what they’ve gone through, this new law will help to prevent other tragedies.”
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