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New law strengthens penalty for those convicted of hazing

Pennsylvania is now a state with one of the strictest hazing laws in the country.

The Governor signed Senate Bill 1090 on Friday, also known as the Timothy J. Piazza anti-hazing law, which classifies hazing into four categories— each that comes with different penalties.

“With this bill, it is a crime to force a student or a minor to consume food, alcohol, or drugs. Or subject them to physical or mental harm that is all too common on college campuses,” said Gov. Tom Wolf.

Offenders could face a third-degree felony charge if a victim is seriously injured or killed, which could come with a seven year jail sentence and $15,000 fine.

The organization in question would also lose their house.

This is in response to the death of 19 year-old Penn State student, Tim Piazza, who died last year after being forced to drink too much and falling several times at a fraternity pledge event.

“Normally bill signings are a day of celebration. We’re very excited about getting something accomplished. Today is not a day of celebration. As a matter of fact, I’m kind of angry that we’re here today. That this happened,” said Sen. Jake Corman, who sponsored the bill.

Tim’s own parents worked with lawmakers to draft the bill to make sure another family never has to go through what they’ve been through.

“Parents should not send their kids off to college with the concern they will be injured or killed as a result of just trying to join an organization, as was our son Tim,” said Jim Piazza, Tim’s father.

But will it work?

“That’s like torturing someone. No one deserves to be treated that way. It’s unfair and it’s wrong,” said Matt Gianchetti, a Shippensburg student and fraternity member.

That’s a question we asked some fraternity members at Shippensburg University.

“People still smoke marijuana even though it’s illegal to smoke marijuana. People still rob people even though it’s illegal to rob people. I think that in the grand scheme of things, hazing is not really going to be prevented by making a law that makes it a little bit more strict when it comes to hazing,” said Ryan Merritt, also a Shippensburg student and fraternity member.

The law also requires colleges and universities to implement hazing education programs, and post reports of any reported hazing incidents on their websites.