The parents of a Penn State student who died during an alcohol-fueled fraternity hazing last year have reached an agreement with the fraternity that requires it to make a number of structural changes, including make frat houses “substance-free.”
Monetary terms of the settlement reached on Tuesday between the parents of Timothy Piazza and the national organization of Beta Theta Pi were not disclosed, but the fraternity said it had agreed to “organizational reforms.”
The fraternity agreed to make its campus houses “substance-free” by Aug. 15, 2020 and to combat hazing, among other changes, Executive Director Jeff Rundle said in a statement.
Piazza, 19, a sophomore at Pennsylvania State University from Lebanon, New Jersey, tumbled down two flights of stairs and seriously injured himself in February 2017 while intoxicated at the party. He died two days after the hazing ritual.
Tom Kline, attorney for Piazza’s parents, Evelyn and James Piazza, said the legally binding agreement was reached in talks over the past year with the Beta Theta Pi, averting the threat of a lawsuit by the parents.
“The Piazzas were not going to settle with Beta absent very significant reforms that were satisfactory to them, and that’s what happened,” Kline said by telephone.
While the Piazzas have not taken any legal action against Penn State, the agreement with the fraternity does not bar them from doing so, Kline said. There have been no discussions with the university, he said.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas