University Publishes Report in Compliance with The Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law

Emily Cox Co News Editor

In accordance with The Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law, Pennsylvania Act 80 of 2018, all Pennsylvania colleges and universities are now required to maintain and publish a report of hazing violations. Signed on October 19, 2018, the wide-ranging anti-hazing legislation addresses hazing prevention, enforcement and transparency. 

The bill is designed to prevent deaths, like that of Penn State student Timothy John Piaza in 2017, from happening again. Both legislators and Penn State administration saw the passing of this act as an important step toward adopting a comprehensive plan that supports student safety and the general well-being of students across the state.

Also known as Act 80 of 2018, the law establishes tiers of hazing with corresponding penalties and strict punishments for each tier. It also classifies new types of hazing, holds both individuals and organizations responsible and requires high schools and universities to publish anti-hazing policies, as well as publicly report hazing violations. In addition, the law provides immunity for individuals involved in hazing incidents who need medical assistance and for those who seek help for others. 

“As legislation that rewrites the current statute, the Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law holds anyone accountable for behavior that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of others and demonstrates the seriousness with which the state and University approach the issue,” Penn State President Eric J. Barron said.

In compliance with this law, the University has recently published a report of hazing incidents reported to the school over the past five years. Published in January, this detailed report includes incidents beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Fraternities and sororities are not the only ones liable to the new anti-hazing legislation or included in the published report. The Villanova Sirens, Club Ice Hockey and the University Band are included in the report, as well as Delta Tau Delta, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Beta Theta Pi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Sigma Chi, and Sigma Nu. Reported incidents range from matters investigated by Public Safety, interviews and events that resulted in the removal of specific organizations from campus.

The University’s hazing website includes streamlined ways for victims, witnesses and community members to report hazing. The phone number for Public Safety is included as well as an online Hazing Reporting Form. The University will update this report on a biannual basis.