LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - Four fraternities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette have been suspended since LSU began investigating the death of LSU freshman and Phi Delta Theta pledge Maxwell Gruver, according to UL's student newspaper The Vermilion.
The UL chapters of Theta Xi, Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Nu and Sigma Alpha Epsilon were placed on suspension in late September, the university's dean of students, Margarita Perez, told the newspaper. The Vermilion also reported that the university's largest fraternity, Kappa Sigma, was expelled from the campus on July 14 for "participating in activities that are inconsistent with the values of the fraternity."
UL administration began receiving reports of misconduct by fraternities on the Lafayette campus after Gruver's death at LSU. "We would get allegations from sources, and then we would kind of look into them enough to know that the allegations had some merit — that it was possible that the allegation could've happened," Perez told the newspaper. Her office then notified the fraternities' national, regional, and chapter leaders to advise them of the university's findings.
Perez described the suspensions of the four fraternities to the newspaper as a pause of activities until the university has finished investigating all complaints and allegations against the fraternities. The four fraternities cannot host events like socials, official meetings, or philanthropic events.
An unnamed fraternity member expressed frustration telling the newspaper, UL has left some of the fraternities in the dark as to why they were suspended. Some of the fraternities found out they were suspended via email. "They haven't been quick to schedule meetings with chapter advisers or even informing chapters of what is going on," the anonymous student said.
The UL dean of students told the newspaper Gruver's death prompted the university to review its policies, "You can't work in this field and not stop and reflect on what occurred there," she said. "We felt the impact, all of us did, and we've been talking about it and thinking about it and trying to wrap our brains around what took place there," Perez told The Vermilion.
Search warrants obtained by WAFB indicate authorities believe LSU freshman Max Gruver and other Phi Delta Theta pledges were forced to drink alcohol during a pledge event called "Bible study" on September 13. Gruver was pronounced dead at a Baton Rouge hospital the next day after being driven to the hospital. Four days later, Phi Delta Theta removed the charter for its LSU chapter.
In the wake of Gruver's death, LSU immediately suspended all Greek activities on campus but lifted the ban on most activities on October 4. Activities with new members such as study groups, overnight retreats, designated driver programs, or chores remain prohibited.