In the wake of Max Gruver's death, Louisiana college students are getting a barrage of messages with one common theme: never again.
They heard it from Lianne Kowiak, whose son Harrison died in a fraternity hazing incident.
They heard it from East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III, who spelled out for LSU fraternity and sorority leaders exactly how anti-hazing laws have gotten tougher.
In one case they heard and saw too much.
At the University of Louisiana at Monroe, some students complained that the anti-hazing message was too graphic, that being forced to watch the movie "Haze" was so upsetting that some students fled.
It all stems from one of three get-tough-on-hazing laws enacted earlier this year after the 2017 death of LSU student Max Gruver, who died after he was forced to chug alcohol during a Phi Delta Theta fraternity initiation game.
From now on, LSU students who are caught hazing will be expelled and the involved fraternities or other student organizations will be kicked o…
The legislation, House Bill 793 by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, spelled out a variety of anti-hazing education steps that colleges and universities had to launch this year, with more to come in 2019.
Whether all the messages will take hold and make a difference is unclear.
"I do think the students are aware of the dangers of hazing, the risks associated with hazing, the consequences which could ultimately lead to death," said Margarita Perez, dean of students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“But I still think we need to work hard to lessen the perception that ‘it won't happen to me,’ or ‘we wouldn't let that happen to our teammate or band members or brother or sorority sister,’ ” Perez added.
The legislation required the state Board of Regents to adopt a uniform anti-hazing policy for colleges statewide, which it did.
Individual schools had to submit their own policies to the regents by Sept. 15, which can expand on the state rules but have to remain consistent with the Louisiana policy.
Each college's set of rules is about the same, detailing what hazing is, reporting requirements and how students are now required to offer assistance to those injured in a hazing incident.
Hazing includes physical brutality, sleep deprivation and the unreasonable consumption of alcohol as part of initiation requirements for fraternities and other groups.
Under the new rules, those found guilty of hazing face fines of up to $5,000 and five years in prison.
Those who fail to assist victims face fines of up to $2,000 and a maximum of five years behind bars.
LSU, UL-Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana University and the University of New Orleans were among schools that held anti-hazing events during the last week of September, which was National Hazing Prevention Week.
While Gruver was an LSU student, his death has reverberated on campuses 55, 45 and 75 miles away.
"It definitely had an impact here," Perez said of the UL-Lafayette campus, which has 23 fraternities and sororities.
"A lot of students here are friends with students at LSU who either were in the fraternity or had classes with Max," she said.
The family of Maxwell Gruver, an LSU student who died in a Phi Delta Theta hazing incident last year, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, saying…
Aside from anti-hazing workshops for fraternity and sorority leaders, about 1,000 students heard Kowiak describe how her teenage son Harrison died in a North Carolina hazing incident.
In an interview Friday, Kowiak said she wants college students to hear from a mom and to understand that hazing is no joke.
Moore said he was struck by the turnout and questions when he detailed the new anti-hazing laws to Greek leaders and others at LSU.
"I was really impressed by the attention that they gave, it was amazing," he said.
"The challenge is what we can put in place that actually stays," Moore added. "That is going to be the toughest part."
The school has 40 fraternities and sororities.
Responding to the death of a fraternity pledge last fall, LSU unveiled its highly anticipated corrective action plan on Wednesday — a list of …
The Office of Greek Life at LSU sent letters on the changes to new and old fraternity members and their families on how the laws have changed as well as a video.
Another letter was sent to more than 2,100 student organization leaders and advisers.
Gruver's death is far from faded, said Mari Fuentes-Martin, associate vice president and dean of students at LSU and the mother of a freshman student.
"As time goes by, the emotion of that moment may wane a little," she said.
"But I get a feeling that Max is very alive in the minds of LSU students," Fuentes-Martin said. "There are small reminders that we are still living with this, that we are trying to change the campus culture for the better."
The fallout from Gruver's death resurfaced last week when the school announced that Greek groups would be prohibited from tailgating at chapter houses for the rest of the football season.
Greeks and other student groups are also banned from tailgating on the Parade Ground.
Tailgating at Greek houses and on the LSU Parade Ground for Greeks and other student groups will be banned for the rest of the football season…
Fraternities are required to have a security detail at tailgating and other social events.
Lofton Security, which previously did the work, told LSU without explanation it was ending the service.
Neither fraternity nor sorority leaders have commented.
On Friday officials at LSU said fraternity members can set up tailgates at other campus locations as long as they register the locations and those requested spots are approved.
Days of anti-hazing programs also took place at UNO, which has 16 fraternities and sororities and SLU, which has 15.
"My sense is last year really impacted the campus," UNO Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Carolyn Golz said of Gruver's death.
"We have students who maybe went to school with Max or people who went to school with friends of Max," she said.
About 700 students at SLU were on hand to hear from a national hazing expert.
Gabe Willis, interim Dean of Students at the school, also said Gruver's death had an impact on students in Hammond.
"I don't think anyone is allowing it to be pushed to the back burner," Willis said.
At UL-Monroe, days of anti-hazing education programs culminated in the required viewing of the movie "Haze."
It is a fictional story aimed at driving home the message that hazing can provide "hedonistic thrills of fraternity life" but also wreck friendships and families.
The same movie, which is aimed at jolting students on the dangers of hazing, has been shown at campuses nationally, according to state officials.
Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for the school, said there is a reason why fraternity and sorority members were required to watch the 1 hour, 52 minute film.
That is how to get to students to an event, Miller said.
But once the movie started some students were uncomfortable.
UL-Monroe's Greek adviser sent a text message that students were free to leave.
"At that point in time some left, some stayed, as you can imagine," Miller said.