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LSU president plans changes after death of Roswell freshman

Any future hazing incidents at Louisiana State University will result in groups being removed from campus and expulsion, LSU President F. King Alexander said Wednesday.

Alexander’s announcement of changes came just over six months after alleged hazing killed a Roswell freshman. Max Gruver, 18, died in September following an incident at LSU’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity. At the time of his death, Gruver had an alcohol level of .495 percent — more than six times the legal limit for drivers.

+ Max Gruver (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Last week, LSU’s Task Force on Greek Life released its findings following a study that began in September. King approved all of the task force’s recommendations, which also included giving university leaders access to events at Greek houses. Gruver’s parents were also involved in the task force’s research.

“We are committed to real change, and I believe our students, staff, and faculty stand behind me on that assertion,” King said in a letter released Wednesday. “As I have stated before, there will be no return to ‘normal.’ This marks the start of wholesale change to the policies and culture surrounding Greek Life and other student organizations at LSU.”

All of the changes will be implemented by the fall, Alexander said, and some will go into effect immediately. Alexander outlined his plans in a 13-page report released Wednesday.

In October, 10 people were charged with hazing for their alleged roles in Gruver’s death. One student, Matthew Alexander Naquin, was also charged with negligent homicide. Naquin’s charge was the most serious, and his case is still pending, the East Baton Rouge Parish court clerk’s office said Wednesday.

Alexander said LSU is supporting state legislation addressing hazing. Rep. Nancy Landry will introduce a bill to make hazing a felony with steeper penalties than the current law allows. And Rep. Franklin Foil will introduce legislation to protect the identity of those who report dangerous behaviors such as hazing, Alexander said.

“Let me reiterate: this is not the end, but rather a starting point for long-term, comprehensive shift in culture that will ultimately make our university community flourish even more,” Alexander said.

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