(BELLEFONTE) – Through a comprehensive rewrite of the state’s hazing laws, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-34) and the family of Tim Piazza hope to prevent future hazing-related tragedies by addressing prevention, enforcement and transparency.
“Jim and Evelyn Piazza have taken what is an unspeakable tragedy – their very personal heartbreak – and channeled it into what will be the most complete antihazing law in the nation,” Senator Corman said. “They are driven by the memory of Tim, propelled by the desire to make certain that no other child dies as part of some coerced and misguided rite of passage.”
“The anti-hazing bill introduced by Senator Corman is a very significant step forward, and is wholeheartedly and enthusiastically supported by the parents of Tim Piazza,” said Tom Kline, lawyer for the Piazza family. “Jim and Evelyn Piazza believe that, if adopted, the Pennsylvania Timothy J. Piazza Law will make our college campuses and fraternity life safer, and will serve as a model law to be adopted and every other state in the United States.”
The proposed bill increases penalties for all of those involved in hazing; requires schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and informs students and parents of what is happening on campus. It also establishes clear-cut parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities.
“We want this to be a model for establishing and strengthening antihazing laws nationwide,” Senator Corman said. “With this proposal, students will have the tools they need to make informed choices about the groups they consider joining as well as safeguards so they can make good decisions in times of distress.”
In 2017, there were four hazing-related deaths in the United States at fraternities. In a November 2017 study on hazing by NBC News, 75 percent of those surveyed believe that something should be done to stop hazing. However, only 56 percent believe that it can be eliminated from college campuses.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro highlighted the proposal’s importance for police and prosecutors.
“The Corman bill gives law enforcement the tools we need to hold students accountable when they engage in hazing that results in the death or serious bodily injury of a fellow classmate, as tragically happened in the death of Tim Piazza last year,” Shapiro said. “I commend Senator Corman for his leadership on this important issue.”
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