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‘Hit them in their heart’: These Parents Lost Kids to Hazing. They’re Trying to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again.
Susan Svrluga

The auditorium at the College of New Jersey was filled with hundreds of fraternity and sorority members, on a night during Greek Week. The event had sounded all too familiar to many: Go hear some adults tell you about the dangers of hazing. Again.

But their chatter had died away and their phones were in their pockets as Evelyn and Jim Piazza showed them photos of their tall, grinning son and told them how, after a gantlet of drinks and a headfirst fall down a flight of stairs at his Pennsylvania State University fraternity house, Tim Piazza was put in an ambulance, alone.

They deliver this speech at big state schools and small liberal-arts colleges and fraternity leadership conferences, as many times as they can fit events into their overbooked schedules.

The demand for their message reflects a new urgency to confront what has been an intractable problem. It also reflects the benefits of an unexpected alliance: Grieving parents have partnered with national Greek organizations in an aggressive, multipronged effort to end hazing — a campaign that has taken them to Congress.