Continuing its crackdown on the university's Greek organizations, LSU has suspended two fraternities for alleged violations of policies in the wake of the death of Maxwell Gruver, who died of alcohol poisoning in September while pledging Phi Delta Theta.
Pi Kappa Phi was suspended beginning Oct. 17, and Alpha Gamma Rho was suspended Tuesday. Both fraternities were accused of violations that happened after Gruver died in what law enforcement has called a hazing incident that occurred just weeks after school started.
After Gruver died, university leaders vowed to change the culture of fraternities and sororities on campus, focusing on stamping out potentially dangerous behaviors like forcing pledges to drink and other forms of hazing. The temporary suspensions ban all chapter activities while the university investigates the allegations.
The recent infractions underscore recent public comments made by LSU President F. King Alexander that some students were not taking the death of a fraternity pledge seriously. Alexander made that statement as he announced he would be revoking alcohol privileges yet again for fraternity and sorority social events through at least January.
"There are those among us who have not yet absorbed the severity and seriousness of the current situation," Alexander wrote in an Oct. 19 letter to Greek students. "It also underscores that there are a few who seek to maintain the status quo despite continued warnings about the dangers inherent in such actions."
LSU President F. King Alexander announced Thursday that the university will reinstate an alcohol ban at fraternity and sorority parties on cam…
The most recent suspension comes on the heels of another fraternity pledge death at Florida State University. Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old Pi Kappa Phi pledge at FSU, was found unresponsive on Friday morning after attending a fraternity party. FSU has since shut down all Greek activities, similar to what LSU did in the immediate aftermath of Gruver's death. Earlier this year, a Penn State pledge also died during fraternity pledge activities.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State University has indefinitely suspended its fraternities and sororities after the alcohol-related death of a f…
Before the two suspensions, two other fraternities were entirely removed from campus, although both of those decisions were initiated by the national chapters. Phi Delta Theta was kicked off right after Gruver died, and Lambda Chi's charter was revoked last month when the national organization found the local chapter to be "unsafe" after several reports of hazing throughout the years. In total, almost half of LSU's 27 fraternities are in poor standing with the university — either on probation, kicked off campus or having received a letter of reprimand.
LSU's Pi Kappa Phi was suspended because it flouted a mandate put into place to improve safety after Gruver's death.
In an Oct. 4 memo, LSU informed all Greek chapters to meet certain conditions before they could regain the right to host social events with alcohol. Those conditions included attending social and risk management training and acknowledging with their signatures the Greek Life Risk Management Compliance statement.
"Pi Kappa Phi allegedly held an event during this period without being in compliance with the university's directive, so it has been placed on interim suspension," said LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard.
Nearly a year before Maxwell Gruver died during an initiation ritual at the Phi Delta Theta house, LSU administrators received urgent warnings…
The directive became something of a moot issue when, a few days later, Alexander announced the ban on alcohol at Greek parties would be reinstated.
Todd Shelton, a spokesman for Pi Kappa Phi national organization, said in a statement that the chapter was flagged by the university for "failing to meet the administrative requirements of the Greek Life Status Update ... prior to a hosting a pre-planned social event."
"The local chapter, national fraternity and university are partnering to develop a chapter enhancement plan," he said.
Alpha Gamma Rho was accused of infractions both before and after Gruver's death.
In a Nov. 7 letter, LSU said Alpha Gamma Rho must stop all chapter events because of an incident that occurred Aug. 21 "where the chapter may have participated in activities not in compliance with University policies."
That event pre-dated the Sept. 14 death of 18-year-old Gruver, who police say was forced to swig 190-proof alcohol during an initiation game. His blood alcohol level when he died was 0.495, according to his autopsy.
One day in September, Maxwell Gruver received a phone message from a member of the fraternity he hoped to join.
LSU also alleges that the Alpha Gamma Rho chapter held "new member activity on Nov. 5, 2017, with no adviser present." Most pledge activity has been banned by LSU since Gruver's death.
"The chapter has been suspended, and the National Fraternity is fully cooperating with the LSU administration in a further investigation," said Caitlin Stauffer, a national Alpha Gamma Rho spokeswoman. "AGR seeks resolution and the correct and positive course for its LSU chapter while being afforded due process."
Ballard said he had no additional details about the Alpha Gamma Rho's alleged violation.
Ten men — eight of whom are current students — have been arrested for hazing in connection with Gruver's death. Only one of them was arrested on the additional felony charge of negligent homicide.
LSU declined to comment about the significance of continued infractions by Greek organizations.
"As a university, we approach each incident on a case-by-case basis and consistently follow established policies and procedures," Ballard said.
Alexander has created a task force to evaluate Greek Life policies and make recommendations about how to change dangerous behaviors. The recommendations are expected to be made by the end of January.
In 2013, LSU's chapter of Pi Kappa Phi hosted an event for its new member class called "Big Brother Night." At that gathering, LSU would later…