LSU Freshman and Phi Delta Theta fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver died Thursday after possible fraternity hazing.
A preliminary autopsy found that Gruver had a “highly elevated blood alcohol level plus the presence of THC in the urine,” said a statement released Friday by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office.
Doug Fierberg – a nationally acclaimed wrongful death attorney representing families who have sued universities, national fraternities and local chapter members for hazing and alcohol-related school deaths tells ABC News:
“Universities and fraternities are not taking the steps – and this goes back decades – to prevent these problems and reform their institutions that are fundamentally dangerous.”
Fierberg recently settled a lawsuit against Phi Delta Theta on behalf of a University of Chicago pledge and was featured on CNN to discuss the perils of fraternity hazing violence and death:
“The dangers of fraternities are not myths. They are reality. The failure by universities to tell the truth about the risks facing students in fraternities specifically related to hazing misuse and abuse of alcohol and other misconduct is the new battleground.” Fierberg tells CNN. “It needs to be changed nationally, because parents and students are entitled to timely and accurate information about the risks they face. And universities have no basis, morally or legally, to withhold that information from the university community.”
Fierberg said universities violate their duties to students and parents when they create websites about Greek life and only include feel-good information, instead of an accurate and complete picture:
“[Universities] won’t give you the full information because it will confirm that what you believe is right. Of course you have a zero tolerance policy. [Hazing is] illegal. … But why wouldn’t you tell parents it’s still going on?”
Having represented victims of similar tragedies associated with fraternities, our our hope is that the Gruver family finds answers related to how this terrible loss transpired.
Our thoughts are with Maxwell’s family and community during this extremely difficult time.