Maxwell Raymond Gruver, an 18-year-old freshman at Louisiana State University, died Thursday after what authorities are calling a “potential hazing incident” involving the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
Gruver, a native of Roswell, Ga., was taken from the fraternity on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus to the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital on Thursday for a “medical emergency,” school spokesman Ernie Ballard said at a news conference. Gruver was later pronounced dead.
Few details about the investigation were available early Friday morning, but authorities said they are looking into allegations that alcohol may have been a factor. An autopsy on Gruver is scheduled Friday, the East Baton Rouge coroner told Nola.com.
“There are allegations that Maxwell’s death was related to hazing, but I want to emphasize that this is an evolving situation,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a news conference. “As we have continually warned over and over again, hazing is dangerous irresponsible and unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated at LSU, period.”
Alexander said that “all Greek activities” on campus were suspended indefinitely. He also extended his condolences to the Gruver family.
“The death of Maxwell Gruver was tragic and untimely,” Alexander said. “A young man’s life was cut short last night. We mourn the loss and the possible impact he may have had on our region of the world.”
Gruver was a prospective member of Phi Delta Theta, the fraternity’s national office said in a news release, adding that its LSU chapter was temporarily suspended, pending an investigation “as a result of the incident.”
“We’re committed to investigating this situation thoroughly,” said Bob Biggs, the chief executive at Phi Delta Theta. “The chapter and any individuals who are found to have violated our policies will be held accountable.”
Many fraternities and sororities have been suspended over the years as a result of high-profile hazing cases. The most notable was that of 19-year-old Timothy Piazza, who died in February after an alcohol-related hazing incident at Pennsylvania State University’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Piazza fell down the stairs multiple times, eventually dying of a fractured skull and a ruptured spleen, according to The Washington Post.
Following this incident, Pennsylvania State University President Eric J. Barron wrote an opinion piece in the USA Today warning of the dangers of hazing and alcohol.
Barron wrote that he worries, “knowing that alcohol misuse and other dangerous behaviors exist, particularly within fraternity and sorority communities, where all universities see a disproportionate problem with hazing, excessive drinking and related behaviors, such as sexual assault.”
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