BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On Thursday, May 31, Governor John Bel Edwards signed a package of bills aimed at addressing the growing problem of hazing on Louisiana university campuses.
"Students need to know that their leaders take hazing seriously. This legislation sends the clear message that the State of Louisiana does not tolerate hazing of any kind. It is one important step toward ending the culture of hazing and secrecy in university organizations and creating a culture of openness, honesty, and accountability," said Edwards.
The "Max Gruver Act" is named after the LSU freshman who died at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house after a night of hazing for pledges.
Current law treats hazing as a misdemeanor. The "Max Gruver Act" makes hazing that results in death a felony. The four bills in the package strengthen penalties for hazing and require colleges to provide hazing education and prevention training. They also require schools to provide protection for those who report cases of hazing, and to penalize those who do not seek help for someone in need.
Anyone found to have participated in hazing that leaves someone seriously injured or dead would get a prison term of up to five years and a fine that cannot exceed $10,000.
"Our ultimate goal is to save lives. I hope that these laws will ease some of the heartbreak of the families who have endured this tragedy, and I hope that Louisiana students will be armed with the knowledge they need to prevent any future tragedies," said Edwards.
The following bills were signed into law:
- House Bill 270
- House Bill 78
- House Bill 793
- House Bill 446