Piazza family speaks out

Local News

Jim and Evelyn Piazza’s lives were changed the night that their son died after being hazed at a Penn State Fraternity. They have a simple mission, to stop it from happening to another person. They sat down with WTAJ during a visit to the IUP campus in Indiana, PA.

Jim and Eveyln Piazza have carried a powerful message to 30 college campuses and leadership conferences around the country. They estimate they’ve spoken to 50,000 people with a simple message…don’t haze.

Their son Tim died after going through “the gauntlet” a pledge hazing ritual at Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity. It claimed to be a dry fraternity.

Tim fell down a set of stairs twice, suffering fatal injuries to his skull, spleen and lung. Fraternity brothers waited hours to call 9-1-1. 

Doctors tell them if tim had been brought in right after his injuries, instead of 12 hours later, they could have saved his life.

Instead, when Jim and Evelyn saw Tim at the hospital. His skull had been removed. 80 percent of his blood was in his abdomen. He was brain dead. 

Audiences weep as evelyn describes each terrible moment. It’s the toughest part of this speech for Jim and Evelyn, but they know its having an impact.

They are also asking university presidents to step up and provide leadership on this issue. They appreciate what Penn State President Eric Barron has done, but say the university can do more.

Their advice to parents is to make sure your child knows how special they are, and if you’re child wants to get involved in a greek organization, investigate it to see if its in good standing.

Right before Tim Piazza died, he wrote what he values most for a class assignment. His parents saw it for the first time at his funeral. Tim wrote “contact your old friends, contact your family more. I don’t know how long any of us will be around, but cherish everyone.”

The Piazzas want Penn State to ask for cameras in all fraternities, encourage reporting of hazing, and amnesty for those who call for help.

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