Penn State suspends recognition of fraternity for violating alcohol rules –

Penn State suspended recognition of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity for at least two years following what university officials say were multiple violations by the fraternity of the university’s rules on alcohol use on April 1.

The university had banned alcohol at fraternity social events for the spring semester following the death of a student, Timothy Piazza, on Feb. 4. Piazza become intoxicated during Pledge Night at Beta Theta Pi fraternity and fell down a set of stairs.

Fraternity members put Piazza on a couch, but the brothers didn’t call for help for almost 12 hours. Piazza died of his injuries the next day. 

Penn State students and community members honor the life of student Timothy Piazza during a candlelight vigil hosted by the Interfraternity Council on the Old Main patio in State College, Pa. on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017. Cameron Hart, For PennLiveTeresa Bonner | [email protected] 

The university instituted a moratorium on alcohol at fraternity events, but officials decided to grant fraternities an exception for Parents Weekend, April 1.

The university laid down certain rules, however: limitations on size of the gatherings, type of alcohol served, and length of time a Parents Weekend social could be held. In addition, the criteria for a Parents Weekend event was that a third-party licensed vendor to serve alcohol to individuals of legal age. No additional groups or people beyond those hosting the event and their families could attend.

“Sigma Alpha Mu knowingly violated every rule that was imposed,” said Damon Sims, Penn State vice president for Student Affairs. 

Sigma Alpha Mu’s violations include excessive drinking, involving hard liquor, with no third-party server; open access to alcohol with no monitoring; and permitting guests other than fraternity members, their parents and family to attend. The violations were first detailed in an “Open Letter to Penn State’s Greek Community” from

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