Hazing News

LSU Task Force takes students to task

In an attempt to change University Greek Life culture, the LSU Task Force on Greek Life Wednesday (Jan. 24) proposed possible policy changes in its first meeting of 2018.

Those changes include mandatory random drug testing for Greek students, developing an amnesty policy, developing a broader definition of hazing, requiring all chapters to have an advisory board and a four-year review cycle for organizations.

“A few more rules and regulations is not going to change the culture,” said chairman Rob Stuart. “It boils down to lack of personal accountability.”

Stuart said the task force would need to have a “full debate” about the legality of mandatory random drug testing.  He said the council would have to spend some time “understanding the legalities” of random drug testing.

“Clearly, those who are advocating drug testing are really thinking in terms of rehabilitation,” Stuart said. “That will be a healthy discussion.”

In addition to these potential policy changes, which Stuart said came from a number of different sources, membership contracts were also presented as a method for holding students accountable. Stuart said that membership contracts have been effective at other universities, and a few of the stipulations of the contract would include a code of conduct, behavioral expectations and expulsion from the fraternity if a member refuses to sign.

LSU’s Greek Life Task Force met in the Student Union to consider possible random drug testing and other measures. (Isabella Allen, The Daily Reveille)

The Greek Life Task Force is also considering sweeping changes to the new member recruitment and education process. Stuart emphasized an alcohol and drug-free recruitment process, in addition to lessening the time it takes new members to join an organization. Maintaining a web portal for prospective members that displays chapter GPA, five-year disciplinary history and philanthropic and community service methods were also on the list of potential changes that the group is considering.

Following the death of Phi Delta Theta pledge Maxwell Gruver, the LSU Greek Alumni Unity Council was formed. The council, represented by Tommy Bernard, call themselves the “definitive voice for LSU Greek alumni committed to eliminating hazing and substance abuse.” Of the 40 fraternities and sororities on campus, 37 Greek organizations have joined the council.

Bernard said if Greek organizations are not satisfied with the policy changes proposed, they can “leave campus.” The council presented a detailed list of policy changes to the task force.

“[Our] bigger issues emanate from the IFC council,” Bernard said.

Maxwell Gruver's mom calls LSU student's death a murder

Maxwell Gruver’s mom calls LSU student’s death a murder

The parents of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver are encouraging students to speak out against hazing.

The Council’s mission to enforce a  “holistic cultural change”  involves eliminating all forms of hazing, curbing high risk drinking, reducing illegal drug use and reducing sexual misconduct. Bernard noted it would take education training, accountability, transparency and communication to yield the desirable results.

“Underage and high risk drinking will be the most difficult,” said Bernard, who suggests the policy changes include the use of law enforcement.

Other policy changes suggested by the council include moving Greek tailgaters from the Parade Ground to their respective chapter houses. A 3-guest-to-1-member ratio was suggested for parties at chapter houses.

“Too many unrealistic policies will doom the system to failure,” Bernard said.

Bernard plans on taking a signed copy of the Council’s recommended policy changes to LSU President F. King Alexander and Gov. John Bel Edwards. Next week, the group plans on laying out the full recommendations and policy changes, which they plan to present to Alexander on Feb. 21, Stuart said.-Alden Ceasar, LSU Daily Reveille

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. In April of 2024, the Alaska Press Club awarded him first place in the Best Columnist division and Best Humorist, second place.

He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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