SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/ KMSS)- In 2017 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver died of alcohol poisoning after participating in a fraternity hazing ritual. Since then Louisiana lawmakers have created harsher penalties to eliminate hazing.
“In the past hazing would only result criminally in I think 30 days in jail for individuals found guilty,” said Grace Nickels, LSUS.
August 1 a new law went into effect making it a felony. If hazing results in death or serious bodily harm.
“An individual can be fined up to 10-thousand dollars and also put into jail up to five years,” said Nickels.
And students who know about hazing, but fail to report it may be fined up to two-thousand-dollars and serve up to five years in prison.
Which is why administrators at the Louisiana State University of Shreveport is educating students on the first day of school.
“Hazing does not just involve alcohol or physical intimidation. It can include emotional distress. It can include acts of embarrassment,” said Angel Martin, LSUS.
School officials say in most cases hazing derives from rituals and traditions, but they say they plan to break the cycle by offering healthy alternatives.
“They can serve together they can look for community experiences together. So again they form those bonds among their members,” said Martin.
Administrators say it’s up to the students report incidents. “We’re trying to instill a sense of community among our students, so this is we’re in it together initiative,” said Martin.