The dangers of hazing have become an important conversation in the wake of LSU freshman Max Gruver’s death. Gruver was pledging at Phi Delta Theta and high amounts of alcohol were found in his system. Executive Director of HazingPrevention.org Emily Pualwan says hazing is complicated and has been around for centuries. She says it’s different than bullying.
“The need and the want to belong to something is strong. People will find themselves subjecting and consenting to things that they know are wrong because they want to join that badly.”
Pualwan says universities can look back and see a pattern of hazing, but only realize the escalation after something as terrible as a death occurs. She says hospitalization and death are the only way for the public to know about hazing and unfortunately it can have fatal consequences.
“There has been at least one recorded hazing death each year, going back to 1959, probably more. Of those deaths, 82% involved alcohol.”
LSU has temporarily shut down their entire Greek system after Gruver’s death. Pualwan says there are couple of private schools that have eliminated Greek life and they hope universities and fraternities learn from the mistakes that have led to tragedy on college campuses.
“We believe that you can work within the system to do a better job of learning the risk factors and educating everybody involved.”