Warrants have been issued for ten Phi Delta Theta members who attend the Louisiana State University (LSU), during a police investigation around fraternity hazing that has led to the passing of freshman pledge Maxwell Gruver, from Roswell Georgia.
The student’s death was deemed accidental and was said to be due to ‘acute alcohol intoxication with aspiration’ via the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office. The student’s blood alcohol level hit 0.495 percent. Under Louisiana law, those under the age of 21 that have a blood alcohol level of 0.02 percent or higher are thought to be intoxicated. Police have issued ten members of the fraternity with warrants around hazing. One student has an added charge of negligent homicide.
CNN reported that the night prior to Gruver’s death, the young man was asked to be a part of Phi Delta Theta’s Bible Study, this as per interviews from two other people who were at the frat house the night the alleged hazing took place. As part of the night, frat members asked questions regarding Phi Delta Theta; if they answered wrong they were required to grab a ‘pull’ from the alcohol bottle. As per the arrest warrants, approximately 18 to 20 pledges participated in the Bible Study event.
Pledges were also asked to execute some physical tasks that night. They were asked to do wall sits as frat members walked over their knees. They were also asked to hold up Phi Delta Theta members while they stood on small history book of the fraternity, also referred to as the ‘Pledge Book’. Interviews also revealed that pledges were forced to excessively drink.
In an LSU police interview, it was revealed that at around midnight, Gruver was quite intoxicated. Frat members laid him on the couch in the house and checked on him as the night progressed, until approximately 3 a.m. At that point in time, he was still passed out.
No one checked on the pledge again until 9 a.m. in the morning. It was at this point that members noticed Gruver’s had a weak pulse and they were unsure if he was breathing. They took him to the hospital and he was later pronounced dead.
Immediately after the young man’s death, the LSU chapter of Phi Delta Theta’s was suspended by the fraternity’s national office, as well as the university. In addition, the frat’s national office has an ongoing investigation around the incident. The organization has also terminated the Phi Delta Theta memberships of the ten individuals charged, adding in a statement that they support the charges against these former members.
F. King Alexander, LSU President, also made a statement regarding the situation, noting that the school has warned against hazing repeatedly. He added that the act is dangerous, unacceptable, irresponsible, and is not something that LUS will tolerate.