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Two more Penn State frats disciplined

Penn State revoked recognition of the fraternities for alcohol-related violations.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, left, announces charges in the death of Penn State student Tim Piazza, as his parents look on.
Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, left, announces charges in the death of Penn State student Tim Piazza, as his parents look on.Read moreAbby Drey

Two more Pennsylvania State University fraternities were sanctioned Saturday for alcohol-related violations, including an event called "Fifth and a Friend," designed to encourage consumption, the school announced.

The university revoked its recognition of Delta Upsilon through the spring semester and Pi Lambda Phi through spring 2019. That means the fraternities lose all rights and privileges and are prohibited from participating in any university function as a group. The violations occurred over multiple weeks since the start of the fall semester, according to the university.

"The misbehavior of these chapters demonstrates very little regard for the trouble alcohol can bring," said Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs. "I am disappointed by this outcome."

Greek organizations had been banned from serving alcohol during social events at least through Nov. 1, as university-mandated educational training of new members was being conducted. University spokeswoman Lisa Powers said Monday that the ban will remain in effect until the training and risk management plans and policies are complete, likely later in November.

The sanctions come more than midway through the fall semester as the university continues its crackdown on Greek life in the wake of the death of sophomore pledge Tim Piazza last February. Piazza, 19, an engineering major from New Jersey, died after attending a pledge event at the now-closed Beta Theta Pi fraternity where hazing is alleged.

Piazza was forced to consume large amounts of alcohol at the party, including running a drinking gauntlet, prosecutors have alleged. He later fell down the stairs and languished for nearly 12 hours before fraternity members called for help. He died of a brain injury, ruptured spleen and a collapsed lung.

Fourteen members of Beta Theta Pi remain charged in his death, including eight members who face involuntary manslaughter and felony aggravated assault charges after Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller refiled those charges last week. A Centre County judge had dismissed those charges after a lengthy preliminary hearing over the summer.

Since Piazza's death, the university has instituted new rules on its fraternities and sororities, including prohibiting entering freshmen from beginning the pledge process, requiring 12 hours of educational training for all new members and banning hard liquor and kegs. The school also hired personnel to conduct random checks of the houses to make sure members are adhering to rules.

But some Greek groups have continued to flout those regulations.

With Saturday's action against Delta Upsilon and Pi Lambda Phi, just under 80 fraternities and sororities remain in operation at Penn State. Four have lost recognition since Piazza's death, including Beta Theta Pi and Sigma Alpha Mu.

Delta Upsilon was disciplined for organizing socials involving alcohol and underage drinking twice in a three-week period, the university said. That included the event called "Fifth and a Friend," during which guests are encouraged to bring a fifth of alcohol and a friend to share it with.

The Pi Lambda Phi chapter made alcohol available to guests on three occasions during social events and exceeded the capacity of its house in violation of rules, the school said. Pi Lambda Phi's national chapter also has begun the process of closing the chapter, the school said.

The suspensions are the first to occur under a new disciplinary process overseen by the university. Previously, the student-run Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council oversaw misconduct cases.