Student’s death prompts Penn State into student safety initiative

When parents send their kids away to college, there are a lot of fears that hit us really hard, really fast. Right under our noses it seems, they grew up and now they’re off doing grown-up things – when did that happen?? Perhaps one of the most serious of these fears is the kinds of activities and situations that our kids will be presented with or find themselves in. For one set of parents whose son went to Pennsylvania State University, the worst of those possible situations became a reality.

Last month the parents of a late Penn State student were awarded $3 million in their wrongful death suit due to the loss of their son in 2010. He had been at a fraternity party when he fell 30 feet and suffered severe head trauma; the fall resulting in his death. He also was said to have been intoxicated at the time of the fall. Since the incident, the fraternity has disbanded on campus and both they and the beer distributer whose products were present at the party were reported to have been involved in the settlement of the parents’ wrongful death suit.

The precautions that the university is taking involve a new kind of oversight of the students’ use of substances and the possible abuse that can go along with that. The commission is called the Penn Commission of Student Safety, Alcohol and Campus Life and is intended to allow for more attention on possibly dangerous or hazardous situations involving their students.

Pennsylvania residents who have had to deal with trauma involving the death of a loved one likely feel for the parents in this situation and know of the kind of distress a family goes through. While it cannot replace the life that was lost, a wrongful death suit may be able to offer up some financial support to help a family cope with the unexpected expenses or the additional burden of a lost income.

Source:, “New Penn panel to study alcohol and drug use on campus,” Susan Snyder, Jan. 9, 2013

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