Mass and vigil held to honor life of LSU student

Mass and vigil held for LSU student

BATON ROUGE, La. - Members of LSU's Phi Delta Theta fraternity received news Monday about their future on campus. The announcement was made just hours before many gathered to honor the life of LSU freshman Max Gruver.

Inside Christ the King Catholic Church students mourned the loss of Gruver. Around campus, most of the Tiger community was doing the same.

"Just because it's another student at LSU," senior Rebecca Hansen said. "We all go to the same school. We're all connected and just someone so young. Someone who didn't have time here to understand what it's like to experience LSU."

"It's really devastating," graduate student, Pam Hart, said. "Devastating to the community, devastating to the family."

Details into Gruver's death last week remain few. LSU officials only say they're investigating it as a potential hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

"It makes sense that fraternal organizations would use that as a way to create really close bonds between members," junior Coleman Perret said. "It sucks there's so much alcohol involved in it. Sometimes people take it over the line and don't know when to stop or don't know their limits or the institution isn't set up in a way that can protect individuals which causes horrible things to happen."

News of the fraternity's future was released on Monday afternoon. A statement from their national headquarters stated in part that Phi Delta Theta's charter has been revoked effective immediately, which removes the fraternity from LSU's campus indefinitely. The statement also read the decision was made "... based on the preliminary findings of an investigation that uncovered enough information to conclude that some chapter members were in violation of established risk management policies, including our Alcohol Free Housing policy."

"The fact this does still happen is terrible," Hart said.

As students try to come to terms with Gruver's death, many hope something is done so incidents like this can be avoided in the future.

"It's definitely tragic and things will be different this year," junior Allison Brassette said. "But hopefully if it's all worked out, it won't happen again." 

The National Chapter of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity released the following statement Monday:

Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters today announced it has formally suspended and removed the charter from its Louisiana Beta Chapter at Louisiana State University (LSU). This action comes four days after the Fraternity launched its investigation into the tragic passing of prospective member Maxwell Gruver.

The determination to suspect operations at LSU was based on the preliminary findings of an investigation that uncovered enough information to conclude that some chapter members were in violation of established risk management policies, including our Alcohol Free Housing policy. With this decision, Phi Delta Theta will shutter the chapter effective immediately. "We continue to keep the entire Gruver family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time," said Bob Biggs, Executive Vice President and CEO of Phi Delta Theta. "This is a very tragic situation that should have never happened."

Phi Delta Theta will continue to support the ongoing investigations by both LSU and local law enforcement and encourage authorities to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law. The Fraternity will also continue its internal investigation to completely understand the situation in order to hold all of those who violated its risk management policies accountable for their actions. Concurrent with its ongoing investigation, Phi Delta Theta will be completing a thorough review of all of the Fraternity's health and safety policies and educational programs, and is committed to enacting any new initiatives to help prevent similar situations in the future.

"This tragedy furthers our belief that one of the biggest problems on college campuses today is the abuse and misuse of alcohol," said Biggs. "In 2000, we implemented Alcohol-Free Housing to address this issue, but this incident serves as a stark reminder of why we need to continue to educate our undergraduates on the dangers of alcohol, hazing, and be constantly vigilant to ensure our risk management policies are fully implemented."

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