New laws cracking down on hazing, now considered a felony in Louisiana

Local News

Hazing is now considered a felon in Louisiana. The Max Gruver Act, named after the Louisiana State University freshman who died after a night of binge drinking at Phi Delta Theta fraternity, aims to stop hazing all together.

Collin turner  pledged  Omega Psi Phi fraternity at ULM. He says being apart of the organization has helped him navigate life.

“You really getting taken care of by a lot of older men and they showing you how things go”, says Turner.

Although he says he didn’t experience it himself, he says he’s heard hazing horror stories. Young people, just like himself, trying to join a frat but losing their life in the process. 

“Trying to drown somebody or make somebody drink to much or something like that’s kind of rough”, says Turner.

Louisiana State University Max Gruver was a victim of hazing. His death sparked lawmakers to make serious changes to the hazing laws here in Louisiana. Camile Currier, vice president of student affairs at ULM says the old law just wasn’t harsh enough. 

“The old law was really a slap on the wrist it was a ten dollar fine up to one hundred dollar fine”, says Currier. 

Gruver died last fall after a night of binge drinking and playing a game called the Bible as a pledge of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. The new law aims to put an end to hazing all together. 

Now Offenders caught hazing face up to 5 years in prison and anywhere between a $1000 to $10,000 fine depending on whether the hazing results in serious bodily injury or worse. 

Under the new legislation you can also be held accountable if you witness the hazing and don’t report it, potentially facing up to five years in prison or a $2500 fine depending on the severity of the incident. 

“The new law creates a criminal offense”, says Currier.

Schools are also responsible for educating students about hazing. Wes Cavin, Director of student activities and student affairs at Louisiana Tech University says the school’s motto is see something say something.

“That’s the motto see something say something and we have posters throughout campus”, says Cavin. 

Turner agrees with the new harsher penalties for hazing. He says no one should lose their life trying to join a sorority, fraternity, or any other organization.

“That is somebody’s life and they putting it in danger”, says Turner.

Louisiana is one of 11 states to make hazing a felony crime. It does not matter if the victim willingly participated, offenders will still be held accountable.

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