He died in February 2017 during a fraternity initiation, when he fell head first down 15 basement steps around 11pm. Surveillance video captured much of the aftermath of Piazza’s fall down the flight of stairs in the at the Beta Theta Pi house. Other members of the house tried to resuscitate the boy by slapping his face; but, there was no response.
Sometime after midnight, Piazza became physically responsive and he made his way back to the basement floor where he remained until around 10am. the next day. He died almost two days later.
Another student eventually called for help at 10:48 a.m. Piazza’s parents eventually called 911 for help.
Fraternity initiations are often physically cruel. Every year, there are repeated reports of physical abuse resulting in hospital visits and serious damage to the victims. University staff are disinclined to get involved. Only when a 19-year-old (or younger) gets seriously injured do the authorities even bother to investigate. They simply regard a student’s serious injury as a cost of doing business.
Universities used to establish an “in loco parentis” (taking the place of a parent) relationship with students enrolled in the university; but undergraduate students are now required to “root-hog-or die” to achieve graduation.
Robert H. Lynn
May 15, 2017