His death last fall at LSU made national headlines. Now Max Gruver’s name is forever part of Louisiana law.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the “Max Gruver Act” into law Thursday, along with three other bills meant to curb hazing at universities.
“Today’s bill signing marks great progress and our first step to end the culture of hazing on college campuses and protecting our students,” Edwards said. “But our efforts must continue.”
Gruver, from Roswell, Ga., died last September, after LSU’s Phi Delta Theta chapter subjected pledges to drinking rituals. The 18-year-old freshman’s blood-alcohol level was .495 upon a coroner’s examination. His death propelled a national dialogue on hazing, as well as multiple pieces of legislation.
Under the Max Gruver Act, anyone involved in a hazing incident that leads to a person’s death would face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Previously, violators would face 30 days in jail and a $100 fine.
Four former LSU students have pleaded not guilty in Gruver’s death. One is charged with negligent homicide, and three others with hazing. They will not be subject to the new law.
The governor also signed bills requiring schools to expel or suspend students for hazing, plus another to protect the identities of those who report these incidents.
“Our ultimate goal is to save lives,” Edwards said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “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.”