More details on Piazza Center for Greek Life Research, some say focus should be beyond Greek life

Local News

University Park, Pa- A Greek life Research and Reform Center, named after Timothy Piazza, is coming to Penn State.

Some students believe the center will be a positive addition… but others WTAJ spoke with worry that the center will not address the heart of the problems that universities currently face.

Some students felt that the issues cast into the spotlight by Piazza’s death, like hazing, are a campus wide probelm, not a Greek life problem. 

“I think there is a negative stigma against fraternities and sororities… people may think it’s just a hazing thing in those types of organizations so I think if it’s broadly targeted to prevent hazing, that would be better than just having fraternity and sorority affiliation,” Jack Eckstein, a PSU Student, said.

Others WTAJ spoke with believe that the center is a step in the right direction… adding that naming the center in memory of Piazza will further assist in creating positive change.

“I think it makes it more personal and maybe the people who are working at the research facility might, with the name in mind, focus on making sure that it won’t happen again,” Kelsey Harring, a PSU student, said.

Penn State told WTAJ that there are no plans to construct a new building for the center. Instead, the center will be placed in an existing building on campus. That building has not been announced.

PSU pledged at least $2 million towards the center’s establishment. They’re looking to gather $3 million more through private donations… which Penn State says they’ll match with an additional $3 million of their own. That totals to an $8 million in endowments for the center.

In referencing the center’s importance, Penn State President Eric Barron said, “Universities have been operating in a void and missing critical information such as a cumulative nation-wide look at Greek life on our campuses.”

He went on to say, “University leaders will now have a dedicated center for the study and best practices and assessment in fraternity and sorority life across the country. The Piazza Center will provide an essential leadership role to compel the collective change required.”

Timothy Piazza’s father Jim Piazza said in reference to the center:

“We are pleased that Penn State is taking the lead in Greek-life reforms and cultural change with the creation of the Piazza Center as we approach the two-year anniversary of the death of our son Tim, as a result of the reckless and irresponsible behavior of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.”

He continued:

“We are also grateful that President Eric Barron has followed through on his commitment to us to make meaningful, positive change and to enhance transparency to protect our children who choose the Greek-life experience at Penn State and at college campuses throughout the country. We know these changes required making many tough decisions and we applaud him for staying the course. We are grateful for Tim’s legacy to live on at Penn State and through the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation.”

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