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Seven Penn State Students Disciplined for Fraternity Pledge's Death

by Dan Corey /
Image: Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in death of Timothy Piazza
Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in death of Timothy Piazza on Aug. 31.Art Lien

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Seven Penn State University students received disciplinary actions ranging from probation to expulsion for student conduct violations related to the death of a pledge at a fraternity initiation party, the school announced Tuesday.

The students were found to be in violation of Penn State's Student Code of Conduct in connection with the death of Timothy Piazza, 19, who fell down stairs during an alcohol-fueled Beta Theta Pi pledge party, the university's Office of Student Conduct said. The violations included "hazing" and "creating a condition that endangers."

Penn State's student conduct probe is separate from the criminal proceedings related to Piazza's death.

Image: Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in death of Timothy Piazza
Beta Theta Pi brothers charged in death of Timothy Piazza on Aug. 31.Art Lien

Nineteen students who were also in the fraternity took "conduct withdrawals" from Penn State before the university's disciplinary process could be finished, the school said. Students under conduct withdrawals haven't completed the school's disciplinary process, but they have notations on their transcripts indicating that they must complete Penn State's proceedings before returning to the university.

Six students who took part in the process weren't charged with any violations.

"We remain resolved to focus, as we always do, on student safety and well-being, and will continue to hold accountable any individuals or student organizations that put others in danger," Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement.

Image: Evelyn Piazza, Timothy Piazza, James Piazza
Timothy Piazza, center, with his parents, Evelyn Piazza and James Piazza, during Hunterdon Central Regional High School football's Senior Night at the high school's stadium in Flemington, New Jersey.Patrick Carns / AP file

Piazza, a sophomore engineering major from New Jersey, was at a pledge event on Feb. 2, when, police said, he fell down basement stairs after drinking excessively. The fraternity brothers didn't call first responders until 12 hours later, prosecutors said. Piazza died two days later.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity has since been disbanded, and a judge dismissed the most serious charges, including involuntary manslaughter, against eight defendants in early September. Prosecutors later moved to reinstate most of those charges against 11 of the fraternity members in late October.

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