Penn State University has suspended the Delta Tau Delta fraternity pending an investigation into an 18-year-old student who was found unconscious in the street after allegedly drinking alcohol at the chapter.
The incident comes in the wake of a ban on all Penn State fraternities' social events involving alcohol following the death of a 19-year-old sophomore in an alcohol-fueled hazing ritual in February.
The Office of Student Conduct is investigating any alleged connection the fraternity may have with the latest incident, and whether students provided alcohol to minors that could have led to the injured student's condition, the university said in a statement Wednesday.
The unidentified male student was found unconscious off campus by police on Sept. 28. He was hospitalized and is recovering.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Delta Tau Delta said "the health and safety of our members and guests remain a top priority."
"Recognizing the concerns that led to the chapter’s interim suspension by the University, we will continue to work closely with them during the review of this situation," the fraternity added.
Tim Piazza died in February following a pledging ceremony at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, where he suffered a series of falls after being made to consume "a life-threatening amount of alcohol," prosecutors said.
None of the brothers called for medical help for 12 hours after Piazza first fell — and attempted to cover up their role in his death by deleting their online exchanges, according to investigation findings.
The fraternity and 18 of its members faced more than 850 charges in his death. In September, a judge dismissed most serious charges against the brothers, including those of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Fourteen members will face trial on lesser charges, including reckless endangerment, hazing, and furnishing alcohol to minors.
After Piazza's death, the university announced a series of "aggressive measures" on Greek organizations, including "strongly enforced prohibition against underage possession or consumption of alcohol in chapter houses" and the loss of recognition for an organization for "hazing that involves alcohol or serious physical abuse."
In 2015, Penn State suspended the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity after members were accused of taking photos of nude women — who were sleeping or unconscious — and posting them online.
“The potential involvement of Delta Tau Delta is very disturbing news, given all of the recent efforts and education that have gone into emphasizing student safety,” said Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement. “None of us can be tolerant of organizations or individuals who value access to alcohol above student welfare."
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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