Louisiana State University's fraternities have faced accusations for decades that they are hotbeds of hazing, binge drinking and misconduct. Two LSU fraternity members have died after nights of heavy drinking — Ben Wynne in 1997 and Maxwell Gruver in 2017. And in 2015, LSU student Praneet Karki collapsed and died after an overnight event of forced physical activity with his fraternity. After high-profile deaths, arrests other problems at fraternities, LSU or their national fraternity chapters sometimes kick them off campus. But usually, they come back.
1997: Ben Wynne, member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, dies after night of heavy drinking with fraternity brothers on pledge night. SAE was kicked off campus for a minimum of four years.
1998: Kappa Sigma frat kicked off campus after “barnyard party” involving cruelty to animals. One sheep died as a result of the party.
1999: Acacia found guilty of violating university policy after pledge was hospitalized for drinking so much he had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit to drive.
2001: Kappa Alpha Psi kicked off campus after hazing incident that injured a pledge from paddling and caning enough that he had to have surgery to remove infected and dead tissue from his buttocks.
2003: Delta Chi removed from campus after hazing investigation. Separate lawsuit filed against the chapter alleged a pledge was stripped to boxer shorts in a sugar cane field, beaten and forced to inhale rubbing alcohol.
2003: Lambda Chi Alpha on probation for hazing, including incidents where new members were blindfolded and subjected to verbal abuse, forced to do pushups in trash, and forced to drink syrup and do other members’ homework.
2006: Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity placed on interim suspension while investigated for improprieties with a goat at an initiation party. The school determined the fraternity did not violate the code of student conduct after a multimonth investigation but ordered fraternity to a two-year “introspection period.”
2012: Sigma Alpha Epsilon suspended for hazing, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and kicked off campus until 2015. SAE members were found to have carried on a tradition "involving the painting of the lions located in front of the chapter house as a result of taking the virginity of a sorority woman."
March 2015: Acacia booted from LSU after allegations of hazing. School officials confirmed there was forced alcohol consumption and physical violence. Acacia members trashed their house before moving out.
November 7, 2015: Praneet Karki, 22, died after a Beta Kappa Gamma fraternity overnight event of forced physical activity. Witnesses reported he collapsed and started to seize before they brought him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. LSU found the fraternity responsible for hazing, complicity and endangerment and kicked them off campus until 2021.
Dec. 2015: Sigma Chi shut down for at least three years after investigation into hazing and substance abuse. A member died after an off-campus drug overdose. An alumni investigation found evidence of blatant drug use inside the chapter house.
March 2016: Lambda Chi Alpha is put on probation through 2019 by university. Hazing allegations included withholding medication and forcing sleep deprivation on pledges.
June 2016: Omega Phi Si is kicked off campus through the spring semester of 2020 after being charged with complicity, endangerment and hazing violations of the Student Code of Conduct. LSU found that the fraternity "engaged in hazing activities" that included sleep deprivation, personal servitude, 5 a.m. workouts, skipping class and more.
Feb. 2017: Kappa Sigma’s national organization purges members from LSU fraternity after undertaking its own investigation. No information was provided about what violations occurred. LSU also announced five other fraternities were suspended.
Sept. 14, 2017: Max Gruver, 18, died after being forced to drink during a Phi Delta Theta initiation game called "Bible Study," in which pledges were quizzed about fraternity history and forced to chug 190-proof alcohol when they missed a question. His blood-alcohol level reached .495 %. Multiple fraternity members were arrested, and LSU banned Phi Delta Theta from campus through 2032. Gruver’s parents filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against LSU, successfully lobbied the Louisiana Legislature for harsher hazing penalties and have become anti-hazing activists.
Oct. 22, 2017: Lambda Chi Alpha shuts down after national fraternity leaders deem it unsafe. The suspension from Lambda Chi’s national headquarters runs through 2020.
Feb. 14, 2019: Nine members of LSU’s now-closed Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity are arrested on hazing-related allegations. Arrest reports say some pledges, in the fall semester of 2018, were urinated on while lying face down on a basketball court covered with glass. Others were doused with gasoline, kicked with steel-toed boots and beaten with a metal pipe. DKE’s national organization closed the LSU chapter in January of that year, and LSU has banned them from returning until 2029.
March 5, 2019: LSU Police raid the Kappa Sigma house after police were previously called there to respond to a drug overdose. Police seized three glass bongs, two marijuana grinders, one metal pipe and one computer system. One member also received a misdemeanor summons related to hazing.
May 17, 2019: LSU closes Pi Kappa Phi fraternity until May 2023 and Pi Kappa Phi’s national organization revokes their charter for the same period. LSU Police issued hazing misdemeanor summonses to three members. LSU found fraternity members broke rules on hazing, alcohol use, endangerment, coercive behavior and failure to comply. The investigation began in October 2018.
July 17, 2019: A Baton Rouge jury convicts Matthew Naquin, 21, of negligent homicide, a felony, in Gruver's death at Phi Delta Theta. He was sentenced to five years in prison, with two-and-a-half years suspended. Other fraternity members Ryan Matthew Isto and Sean-Paul Gott pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing.
Oct. 20, 2020: LSU officials notify the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity that the organization is being suspended while LSUPD investigates a potential hazing incident that led to a student’s hospitalization. The student had a blood alcohol level of .451, according to a later arrest warrant for a fraternity brother. The student survived and was released from the hospital.
Nov. 11, 2020: LSU Police arrest Phi Kappa Psi "new member educator" Terry Pat Reynolds II on counts of felony hazing, misdemeanor hazing and failure to seek assistance over the recent hospitalization of a fraternity member with severe alcohol poisoning. Police say that Reynolds allegedly invited the fraternity's new members to his home and instructed them to finish whole bottles of alcohol.
March 25, 2021: LSU suspends the Kappa Sigma fraternity while investigation several alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, including accusations that they hazed pledges, served alcohol to minors, had the alcohol medical transport of a student" from a chapter party during rush week and hosted an off-campus party for 300 people.
June 1, 2021: LSU reaches a settlement agreement with Kappa Sigma, rather than kicking the fraternity off campus after finding the fraternity responsible for endangerment, coercive behavior, failure to comply and alcohol violations. The chapter is placed on deferred suspension until the end of 2022, and disciplinary probation until May 15, 2023.