Pennsylvania college mandates security at frat parties in wake of PSU student death

F&M College

Since the movie Animal House, and assuredly long before that, college fraternities have been known for wild, beer-injected parties. but the reality is that when ignored, they can become deadly, as in the case of Timothy Piazza. Requiring security at fraternity parties may seem to be a bit of the "no-fun police," but if the alternative is keeping students safe, then bravo to the F&M College's administration. -- IFPO.


By Katherine Coble || News Editor, The College Reporter

Over the course of the last year, F&M has been working to implement new social policies the require third-party security at Greek social events.

The new policy, crafted over the summer, mandates that fraternities hire and pay a third-party security company (vetted and approved by the College) to assist with at least one of their social events every month.

According to Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett, many of these changes have come about in response to the death of Timothy Piazza at Pennsylvania State University last February, saying that Piazza’s death marked a “new change  in the landscape” because in the aftermath of the incident 26 brothers were charged with nearly 900 charges including involuntary manslaughter.

The case is among the largest hazing prosecutions in American history. In light of these legal ramifications, many colleges and universities have been scrambling to re-evaluate their policies related to fraternity parties and reduce the liability risks of fraternity brothers during said events.

Hazlett and Senior Associate Dean of the College Maria Flores-Mills began working alongside Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Stuart Umberger to determine how the College could, in the words of Dean Hazlett, “continually assist our fraternity leadership in managing their parties safely for everybody, recognizing that they are increasingly facing significant challenges in hosting large gatherings."

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Hazlett also acknowledged the increased scrutiny national fraternal organizations are putting their chapters under to ensure that the proper rules are being followed for liability and insurance purposes. After investigating “what many colleges and universities with Greek systems were starting to do” and examining how F&M’s social scene operated, the College decided that “a combination of limiting the number of parties per semester as well as initiating third-party security once a month” would “help our fraternity leadership manage these large gatherings” in order to “protect them and assist them.”

When asked if student input was factored into the policy-making process, Dean Hazlett said that because the policy was about “health and safety” decisions were made without student consultation.

Hazlett also said that Public Safety was additionally not consulted in the crafting of the policy and were made aware of the policy in the fall at the same time as the student body, a decision she described as a “misstep.” However, student response – which Flores-Mills described as “not consistently positive” – has contributed to several adjustments to the policy’s enforcement. For example, third-party security workers began wearing identifying name tags on December 1 to respond to student concerns over allegations of physical harassment by third-party security and a desire to increase reporting of these incidents.

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By |2019-10-08T05:48:25-04:00October 8th, 2019|News|Comments Off on Pennsylvania college mandates security at frat parties in wake of PSU student death

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