Judge Drops Felony Charges Against Fraternity Brothers in Timothy Piazza Case

timothy piazza

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

A judge has dropped involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against eight members of the fraternity where Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza was drinking the night he fell and sustained injuries that claimed his life in February.

In all, 18 members of the now-shuttered Beta Theta Pi were originally charged in Piazza’s death. On Friday, Centre County District Justice Allen Sinclair dismissed charges against four of the defendants and dropped the most serious charges against eight of the fraternity members.  Read more »

Bryn Mawr to Remove References to Founder With Racist Views

bryn mawr

Bryn Mawr College will begin to scale back on its association with its M. Carey Thomas, a founder of the college who is criticized for her racist and anti-semitic views.

Thomas, a suffragette who presided over the college from 1894 to 1922, is known for advancing women’s rights – but historical accounts reveal that she almost exclusively championed the rights of white women and discriminated against Jewish and African American applicants to Bryn Mawr.

President Kim Cassidy said in a letter that two buildings named after Thomas, Thomas Great Hall and Thomas Library, will receive new titles.

“While Thomas had a profound impact on opportunities for women in higher education, on the academic development and identity of Bryn Mawr, and on the physical plan of the campus, she also openly and vigorously advanced racism and anti-Semitism as part of her vision of the college,” Cassidy said in a letter, according to the Inquirer.

The diverse Main Line women’s college will place a moratorium on the buildings’ names while a committee of faculty, students, staff, alumni and trustees determines how to approach the college’s connection to Thomas.

Bryn Mawr joins many institutions that have moved to distance themselves from controversial monuments, speakers and leaders in the wake of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va., which was spurred by white supremacists and neo-Nazis who sought to defend a Confederate statue.

Earlier this week, Stockton University in New Jersey removed from its library the bust of Richard Stockton, the college’s slave-owning namesake and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Stockton provost and vice president for Academic Affairs Lori Vermeulen said in a letter that the decision was made “to develop engaged and effective citizens with a commitment to lifelong learning and the capacity to adapt to change in a multicultural, interdependent world,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.

Elsewhere, Pennsylvania State University said in a statement this week that it will not allow Richard Spencer, a controversial white nationalist, to speak at its campus this fall.

The university called Spencer’s views “abhorrent” and said his presence would present “a major security risk to students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

How to Book the Nittany Lion and Other Pennsylvania College Mascots for Your Wedding

Photo by Ovation Images Photography

If you and your fiancé(e) met a college, why not consider surprising your wedding guests with an appearance by your mascot? From the UPenn Quaker to the Penn State Nittany Lion, here’s how to bring the ultimate form of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia-area school spirit to your wedding (or other large party that several fellow alumni will be attending).  Read more »

Rep. Meehan Proposes Bill Targeting Hazing on College Campuses

patrick meehan, hazing

Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Meehan introduced a bill on Thursday that would crack down on hazing on college campuses nationwide.

The legislation, called the Report and Educate About Campus Hazing Act, would provide a federal definition for hazing and require colleges to disclose incidents on annual crime reports. It’s co-sponsored by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio.  Read more »

Timothy Piazza’s Parents Ask PSU to Punish Students, Employees

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

The parents of Timothy Piazza, the 19-year-old Pennsylvania State University sophomore who died in February after succumbing to injuries he sustained frat party, have asked the university to expel the students and fire the teachers who they say were culpable in their son’s death.

James and Evelyn Piazza addressed the university’s Board of Trustees in a letter that called on the university to “admit responsibility” in the incident and “fix” what the parents see as “broken” Greek Life culture.  Read more »

Did Jay Paterno Become a Penn State Trustee Just to Rehabilitate His Dad’s Legacy?


A Paterno is back in a position of power at Penn onotate after Joe’s son, Jay, was recently elected to fill one of three vacant positions on the university’s Board of Trustees – the same group that fired his father in 2011 for his role in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse coverup.

In the years since, bad blood developed between the board and the Paterno family – for whom Jay serves as de facto spokesman – because of the family’s serial denial of JoePa’s culpability, although many of the trustees responsible for relieving the controversial football coach of his duties are no longer board members today. Read more »

If Pennsylvania’s Drinking Age Were Lower, Timothy Piazza Would Be Alive

Penn State's Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity house via Google Maps

I have a niece who is British. A couple of years ago she visited and stayed with my daughter, who attends a large out-of-state university. Both had a great time together. But when I asked my niece what she thought of the social scene at my daughter’s college, her response wasn’t as great — in fact, she was kind of shocked. “The Americans drink way too much,” she told me. “It’s like their whole life revolves around alcohol.” My niece was 19 years old at the time.

Setting aside some Muslim countries where drinking isn’t allowed at all, the drinking age in the United States is, at 21, among the highest in the world. It wasn’t always like this. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a push to reduce the drinking age to 18 to coincide with the draft age and the recently lowered voting age. Those were the days of Vietnam, and the sentiment was Hey, if you’re old enough to risk your life in a firefight, you’re old enough to have a beer afterward. Read more »

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