Statement by the President Regarding Student Safety Concerns Perpetuated by Residents at 329 East Prospect Avenue in State College

November 9th, 2020

I am sickened by and strongly condemn the actions taken by the residents of 329 East Prospect Avenue, as described by the email sent to students and their families by Penn State University and the State College Borough this past Friday. Sigma Alpha Mu has been suspended since April 2017 for numerous alcohol, health and safety violations, and their continued fraudulent posturing as an active fraternity is irresponsible and dangerous to the entire State College community. 

I’ve come to learn that residents of the privately-owned property have been accused of or found to have committed hazing and sexual misconduct violations, all while consistently disregarding common sense COVID-19 mitigation measures. Two students found to be living in the house have been suspended from Penn State. 

Over Halloween weekend, the property’s residents held a large gathering which resulted in the dispicable mistreatment of an underaged female student. The student was found lying on a nearby sidewalk, intoxicated and unconscious, left there by the organizers of the party. Words cannot express how relieved I was to learn that she was treated and has since fully recovered. However, this heartless action, as well as allegations of sexual assault during the same weekend, need to be addressed.

Let me be clear: this is no way to treat any human being, let alone a fellow student and peer. That the residents perpetuating this danger would consider themselves contributors to community service or genuine philanthropy — historically core tenets of Greek Life — is morally wrong, and I encourage anyone recently recruited by them to disassociate themselves from the house immediately. In no way do the actions of the house and its residents embody the values of the Penn State Community or its Student Body.

I urge the State College Borough Council to seek further legal action against the house, and the Penn State administration to assist them in those efforts. If doing so will protect even one more of our students from sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, or hazing, it will have been worth it. 

Until this threat to the Penn State and State College communities is contained, I urge everyone to remain vigilant and look out for one another. Avoid any type of gathering at 329 Prospect Ave, and report those you see happening real-time. Let’s take care of our own.

Students and other community members are encouraged to provide the State College Police Department with additional insight by calling 814-234-7150 or contacting Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct at 814-863-0342. 

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