Club & Greek

Turning Tragedy Into Progress

Tragedy Into ProgressMonmouth University had the honor to host an impactful event pertaining to the son of Jim and Evelyn Piazza, entitled “Turning Tragedy into Progress.”  The event was held in Pollak Theatre on Jan. 28, and every seat was filled.

Their son, Timothy Piazza, was a pledge for the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Penn State University in February of 2017.  Piazza underwent severe hazing rituals, one in which ultimately ended his life. Piazza’s family were devastated by their loss of a son, who was also a brother, a boyfriend, a friend, and most importantly, someone they loved dearly. 

Evelyn Piazza spoke on their experience with the tragedy. “He was an amazing person who was hazed, and then ignored, tortured, and then left to die because the fraternity did not want to get in trouble,” she said.

Jim Piazza spoke about how his life, Evelyn’s life, as well as the people that loved and cared for him, how their lives were altered due to Tim’s passing. He said, “We can’t be around for Christmas anymore. Birthdays, graduations, everything is a reminder that he’s not with us anymore. That he’s gone, and he shouldn’t be. It was all because of reckless behavior and no one willing to do the right thing.”

Senior Nursing Major, Samantha Albinson, a senior nursing student and a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau and a senior said, “The fact that it was Tim’s parents had a much larger impact than if it were a student or administrator speaking.  Clearly, the whole audience was moved, and it hit a lot harder than most people would have thought.” 

Maritza Darling-Ramos, a senior Spanish student and someone not involved in Greek life, also had some input on the event. “I thought the presentation was very moving. It hit home when she was speaking about the hospital.” The Piazzas asked the audience to imagine Tim’s suffering as your own brother in the hospital. When asked how it would affect the Monmouth campus, Maritza-Ramos said, “I feel that there are some people on this campus that have been affected by it. I also believe that some organizations won’t truly care but I hope they’ve learned something from this.”

Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne Nagy spoke about the Piazza’s and their ideologies towards the Greek Life system. “What they support is much like us, a safe, strong and sound system where students hold each other accountable and are not afraid to say stop we need help,” she said.

The Piazzas continue to advocate for change culturally and legislatively. They stated that 43 students have died from hazing since 2000, and Tim was one of seven in 2017.

“We should be thinking about not just protecting ourselves, or our organizations protecting each other,” said Nagy. “Protect the human being part of this,” she said.

Monmouth University President Grey Dimmena, Esq., also had a few things to say regarding the event and how it would affect the Monmouth community. “It’s always very powerful when someone who has lived through something tragic comes and talks and can give people a warning. It’s really a tribute to them that they’re able to do this and that they care so much about it not happening to someone else. Even if one person listens and makes a difference, we could save someone’s life.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Ray Romanski