Authorities in Louisiana have issued arrest warrants for eight students and two others on hazing charges related to the death of Maxwell Gruver, a Louisiana State University freshman who died after a gathering at a school fraternity.
The 10 men, between 19 and 21, were all charged with hazing, a misdemeanor that would require expulsion from school and is punishable by up to 30 days in prison. One, Matthew Alexander Naquin, 19, was also charged with negligent homicide, a felony. Two of the men, Sean Paul Gott, 21, and Patrick Forde, 20, are former students at the school, a spokesman said.
A university spokesman said the students were in the process of turning themselves in to the police and would be in custody by the end of the day.
Police had been investigating Gruver’s death as a potential hazing incident.
The 18-year-old, of Roswell, Ga., died on Sept. 14 after an event at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, which he was in the process of trying to join, officials said. Gruver and other pledges had been invited to an event at the chapter house the night before, where they were quizzed on the fraternity and told to drink if they answered incorrectly, according to the Advocate.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s office said Gruver died of acute alcohol intoxication with a blood alcohol level of .495, in what it ruled was an accident.
The death has unfolded in the midst of increased scrutiny on drinking behavior and fraternity culture on college campuses that has been prompted by a few high-profile hazing deaths. At LSU, the college immediately suspended all Greek activities after the death, though some have since been allowed again, and formed a task force to examine fraternity culture on campus.
Eight of the men charged were members of the fraternity, a LSU spokesman said.
Phi Delta Theta was initially put on an interim suspension by the school before its charter was revoked by its national organization. The house is located on the university campus, a spokesman said. According to a report in the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Reveille, the chapter had been suspended a year earlier as the university investigated a previous complaint about hazing.
According to the complaint outlined in the Reveille, new members were allegedly asked to buy chewing tobacco and cigarettes for older members, report to the house every day at 6 a.m., and be available to the more senior members of the fraternity 24 hours a day, except when they were with their parents, in class or had a test the next day.
“Today’s arrests underscore that the ramifications of hazing can be devastating,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a statement on Wednesday. “Maxwell Gruver’s family will mourn his loss for the rest of their lives, and several other students are now facing serious consequences — all due to a series of poor decisions.”