It likely came as little surprise late last week to members of the student body and other individuals intimately involved with PSU that somber developments surfaced regarding the hazing-related death of a would-be fraternity brother during a so-called “bid acceptance night” this past February.
The pledge — a PSU sophomore on the night he participated in a special fraternity party — died following a night of reportedly heavy drinking, coupled with successive falls.
The Centre County District Attorney’s office has now released documents linked with a now-concluded grand jury investigation that take the matter to a new dimension. Specifically, a number of criminal charges have been brought against nearly a score of Beta Theta Pi fraternity members, as well as against the fraternity itself.
Eight fraternity members are now charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault for the alleged role they played in the young man’s death.
As a national media report on the matter further notes, 18 men in all are being criminally charged in the case, with the counts against them ranging broadly from evidence tampering to providing alcohol to minors.
Additionally, the PSU chapter president of Beta Theta Pi now faces a stunningly high 200 counts of criminal behavior linked to the matter, with the fraternity, too, facing nearly 150 charges.
As the above-cited USA TODAY notes, “Greek life is a deeply embedded part of campus culture at Penn State,” with nearly one of every five PSU students being a member of a fraternity or sorority.
Understandably, the university has been rocked by the incident. We will keep readers duly informed of material developments going forward.