Beta Theta Pi House

Beta Theta Pi fraternity house located on Burrowes St. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

The Beta Theta Pi fraternity is doubling down on its assertion that Penn State used sophomore pledge Timothy Piazza's hazing-related death to obtain on-campus property.

On Monday, the now-defunct Alpha Upsilon Chapter of the Fraternity of Beta Theta Pi, Inc. filed a brief in opposition to Penn State's motion to dismiss the fraternity's lawsuit against the university.

Penn State permanently banned the Beta Theta Pi fraternity on March 30, 2017 following Piazza’s death, in which he consumed at least 18 alcoholic drinks in less than 82 minutes and suffered a fractured skull and lacerated spleen after falling down the fraternity's basement stairs.

In June, the Alpha Upsilon chapter filed a suit in U.S. Middle District Court, claiming Penn State attempted to force the sale of the Burrowes Street property — owned by the House Corp. — by creating “the conditions necessary to trigger Penn State’s purported right” to purchase the property, something outlined in a 1928 deed.

The deed states Penn State may purchase said property from the House Corp. in the event the Beta Theta Pi chapter could not be used as a Beta chapter or fraternity.

On Sept. 9, Penn State filed a motion to dismiss the suit, calling it "reckless and irresponsible" and alleging the suit's allegations are "baseless and patently absurd."

However, the fraternity said the university’s actions following Piazza's death were arbitrary and capricious because they deprived the House Corp. from profiting off the property — one of only three on-campus fraternity houses — and disallowing it to challenge the original decision to take the property.

The House Corp. said Penn State’s decision to take the property was not an attempt to fix the drinking culture that permeates the campus, something the House Corp. said it urged the institution to address for years prior to pledge Timothy Piazza’s death.

The defendants in the case are Penn State, Penn State President Eric Barron, Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Danny Shaha.


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