Lehigh Valley

DA John Morganelli to talk binge drinking with college communities

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli highlighted the February 2017 death of a New Jersey Penn State student who died in a hazing ritual and other alcohol related issues at colleges in our area.

Earlier this month, a Lehigh sorority was suspended for a hazing scavenger hunt that involved drugs and alcohol.

In January, the school's Interfraternity Council Executive Board placed an indefinite ban on hard liquor at Greek-life events.

And it's believed alcohol played a role in the September death of a Lafayette College freshman.

"The first six weeks of freshman year are a vulnerable time for heavy drinking and alcohol related consequences," Morganelli said.

That's one issue Morganelli hopes to address when meeting with university staff at Lehigh, Lafayette, Moravian, and Northampton Community College in the near future.

He says binge drinking leads to not only death and injuries at alarming rates, but also to campus crimes like sexual and aggravated assaults. 

He says freshmen, athletes, and students in fraternities and sororities are most likely to engage in heavy drinking.  

Some ideas he's throwing out include reinstating Friday and Saturday classes, expanding alcohol-free dorms, requiring Greek pledging to happen in the second semester, and creating a GPA minimum for a student to enter Greek life.

Morganelli added he's not naive to think he's going to stop college drinking, he just wants to make it a safer environment.


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