Police are investigating the death of a Louisiana State University (LSU) freshman as a possible hazing incident after the 18-year-old was taken to the hospital Thursday morning, Sept. 14, and later pronounced dead.
Few details about the death of Maxwell Gruver from Roswell, Georgia, were available Friday morning, but school officials confirmed that the incident is being investigated as a possible hazing incident and that the Phi Delta Theta chapter where he was reportedly seeking membership had been suspended.
Gruver was in the beginning stages of becoming a member of the fraternity, a process called pledging.
“The death of Maxwell Gruver was tragic and untimely,” LSU President F. King Alexander said in a statement. “As we have continually warned, hazing is dangerous and unacceptable. It will not be tolerated at LSU. Period.”
Alexander added that they were also looking into whether alcohol was involved in his death.
Gruver was taken to the hospital from the fraternity at LSU’s Baton Rouge campus Thursday morning for a “medical emergency,” school spokesman Ernie Ballard said in an email.
The autopsy will be performed on Friday, Sept. 15.
In addition to Phi Delta Theta being suspended, other fraternity and sorority activities on the campus were put on hold.
Phi Delta Theta’s headquarters in Oxford, Ohio, said it was cooperating with authorities and had opened its own investigation into the incident.
“We’re committed to investigating this situation thoroughly. The chapter and any individuals who are found to have violated our policies will be held accountable,” said Bob Biggs, executive vice president and CEO at Phi Delta Theta’s general headquarters, in a press release.
Local newspaper The Advocate interviewed LSU freshman Grant Caillouet who said he had thought about joining the fraternity but decided to join a Christian fraternity instead.
“I’ve heard stories before coming here that most fraternities do some pretty crazy things to pledges,” Caillouet told the paper. “That’s the reason I joined Beta Upsilon Chi.”