Former Penn State student blames school for hazing death

Written by The Associated Press | May 12, 2017 1:14 PM

james vivenzio 1.jpg

FILE - In this June 8, 2015 file photo, James Vivenzio speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia. Vivenzio, a former Penn State student from Great Falls, Va., who is suing over alleged hazing by his former fraternity, toured the fraternity house with his parents and lawyers for the involved parties seeking evidence for the case. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(PHILADELPHIA) -- A former Penn State student who sued the school over hazing says he wept when he heard news of a fraternity pledge's death, and says the school is to blame.

James Vivenzio tells the death of 19-year-old Tim Piazza was ``completely preventable.''

The 23-year-old Virginia native says he thinks the university should do more to change its Greek culture.

Piazza died after drinking and suffering a critical brain injury during a pledging ritual at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity in February.

Eighteen fraternity members have been charged. Vivenzio's 2015 lawsuit claimed Penn State ignored his report of hazing.

Penn State has disputed Vivenzio's account. A judge has dismissed all but one claim in the suit.

A university spokeswoman says the school is hopeful that claim also will be dismissed.

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