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Pennsylvania senator pushes for stricter anti-hazing laws following death of Penn State University pledge

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Pushing to put an end to hazing after the death of a Penn State fraternity pledge. One Pennsylvania lawmaker is taking action. Se...

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. -- Pushing to put an end to hazing after the death of a Penn State fraternity pledge. One Pennsylvania lawmaker is taking action.

Senator Jake Corman has announced legislation that he hopes will put an end to a growing number of hazing injuries and deaths.

The push for the anti-hazing law comes after the 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza, following a night of heavy drinking at the Beta Theta Pi house.

Investigators say new surveillance video from that night shows Piazza consuming at least 18 alcoholic drinks in 90 minutes.

He later died after falling down a flight of stairs.

Once the fraternity brothers find him, the video shows they waited 40 minutes to call for help.

11 fraternity members were charged in connection to Piazza's death.

Just yesterday, a judge in Centre County threw out the most serious charges, including all counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Conspiracy, hazing, and alcohol violation charges still stand and only five of the brothers are expected to head to trial on those charges.

"If it were me, I probably would’ve crawled in my bed, put up the covers, and stayed there, but because of their courage, we’re here to make sure it never happens again," said Senator Jake Corman.

Senator Jake Corman stands with the parents of Timothy Piazza, advocating for new anti-hazing legislation.

“No more college students should die for just wanting to join an organization," said Jim Piazza, Timothy's father.

Timothy Piazza is the 19-year-old pledge who died after he fell down a flight of stairs following a night of heavy drinking during a Beta Theta Pi fraternity ritual at Penn State University, according to investigators.

The Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law would create tiers of hazing offenses.

“Prosecutors can only charge M2’s, misdemeanor 2's which may not reflect the severity of the crime," said Senator Corman.

Severe hazing which causes serious injury or death could be a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison if Senator Corman’s bill becomes law.

And institutions could face consequences too, like a $5,000 or $15,000  fine per incident, depending on the severity of the hazing.

“It will deter misconduct. It will make college and Greek life safer," said Piazza.

Some students at Dickinson College in Carlisle are for the legislation.

"Whatever is safe for college students and students across America… I’m all for it," said Rob Thompson, a senior baseball player at Dickinson College.

“I’m in a service fraternity and I know we have absolutely none. I think a stricter law would definitely help with whatever situations are going on," said Katelyn King, a senior.

Though King is against hazing, she says it could be hard for a judge to severely punish students found guilty of it.

"It’s always a tough situation because you see that this is going to definitely change these peoples’ lives, but also it’s going to set a standard for the rest of the country," she said.

The legislation pushing for stricter hazing laws passed unanimously through the Senate Judiciary Committee and moves to the full senate for a vote.

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