Maxwell Gruver.jpg

Maxwell Gruver

LSU's initial crackdown on Greek activities in the wake of the death of a fraternity pledge was further peeled back last weekend when parties with alcohol were allowed to resume. 

Beginning on Thursday, four weeks after freshman Maxwell Gruver was pronounced dead following a night of heavy drinking in the Phi Delta Theta house, LSU said students could resume attending events where alcohol was served. 

Fraternities and sororities were allowed to participate in on- and off-campus parties, including house parties, exchanges and formals, where alcohol was served. Students in the fraternities and sororities were required to attend risk management training in order to participate. 

But LSU President F. King Alexander said the move should not be interpreted as a signal that things are going back to normal. 

He said security and policies governing social events have been tightened and students have been put on notice. 

"They know they're on notice," Alexander said in an interview Monday. "We want them to know we're watching them carefully." 

LSU on Monday hosted its first task force meeting, empaneled to review LSU's policies governing Greek life and then make recommendations to root out dangerous behaviors. 

Students, faculty, administration officials and alumni make up the 11-member task force.

"If people think it's a cultural issue at the end of the day, we're going to change culture," Alexander told the task force. "It's a tall task and it's a tall challenge." 

He said he hoped LSU would create policies that could be a model for other schools, adding that hazing is a problem schools are struggling with nationwide. 

The task force will make its recommendations by Jan 30, said Rob Stuart, chairman of the task force and LSU Foundation board president.

Gruver, an 18-year-old from Roswell, Georgia, died from alcohol poisoning and aspiration, which means he choked on his vomit. His blood alcohol content was 0.495 percent, more than six times the legal limit to drive, according to an autopsy.

Police said Gruver was targeted in a hazing event at the Phi Delta Theta house by a more senior member of the fraternity who disliked him. Gruver and other pledges were forced to drink each time they answered questions incorrectly during a fraternity game called "Bible study." 

On Wednesday, 10 members of the fraternity were arrested by the LSU Police Department and booked into Parish Prison on misdemeanor counts of hazing. 

Matthew Naquin, 19, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was the only member booked on a count of negligent homicide as well as hazing. Naquin was identified in police reports as the most aggressive member during the hazing, and several witnesses said Naquin had a grudge against Gruver for frequently being late to events. 

After Gruver died, LSU immediately announced a ban on all Greek activities, ranging from parties and tailgating to philanthropy and membership meetings. 

Philanthropic events were reinstated a week after Gruver's death, and tailgating was allowed with new restrictions. 

LSU is still prohibiting events that target new members of fraternities and sororities, including "new member required 'study hours' and 'study groups,'" according to a memo from the director of LSU's Greek Life. Also banned are overnight retreats, and new member duties, including being on call as a designated driver as well as other chores a pledge may be asked to do for an active member. 

Kenneth McMillin, LSU Faculty Senate president, said Monday that it's unclear if the month-long ban on Greek activities had an impact. He said allowing parties to resume "may be appropriate under controlled circumstances." 

"But I'm not convinced that the circumstances are as controlled as Greek Affairs would have us believe," McMillin said, adding that he heard reports of Greek students partying and underage students drinking on and near campus over the past few weeks, while the activities were supposed to be banned.

Follow Rebekah Allen on Twitter, @rebekahallen.