Governor seeks review of campus policies on hazing, alcohol

BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has asked leaders of the state’s higher-education system to review their campus policies on hazing, alcohol and drugs following the death of a Louisiana State University student.

In a letter dated Thursday, Edwards asked system presidents to report their findings and recommendations to his office by Oct. 29.

“One loss of life to hazing or drug and alcohol abuse is too many, and I know that you share my very serious concerns,” Edwards wrote.

Police are investigating the Sept. 14 death of 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver as a possible result of fraternity hazing. A coroner said hospital tests found a “highly elevated” blood-alcohol level in Gruver’s body.

The LSU freshman from Roswell, Georgia, was being considered for membership in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. The fraternity’s national office said it closed the chapter after Gruver’s death.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore said last week that LSU police had interviewed many fraternity members, but some had refused to give a statement and were hiring lawyers.

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said in an email Friday that the police investigation “will be completed as quickly as possible, but will take at least a few weeks.”

Edwards addressed his letter to the presidents of the LSU, Southern University, University of Louisiana and Louisiana Community & Technical College systems.

“Maxwell Gruver and students across the country who died before him deserve our best effort to re-examine our policies, make necessary adjustments, and engage with our students to prevent these instances from happening in the future,” Edwards wrote.

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