Phi Delta Theta shuts down LSU chapter after death of pledge

Halen Doughty

Greek Life on LSU campus came to a screeching halt after an 18-year-old fraternity pledge died as a result of possible hazing. Phi Delta Theta removed its chapter at LSU following the death of Maxwell Gruver of Roswell, Virginia.

The preliminary report from East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark finds alcohol poisoning as a possible cause of death. Gruver was transported to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital late Wednesday night, where he was later pronounced dead.

Clark issued a statement saying signs of both cerebral and pulmonary edema were found, which is medical jargon for swelling of the brain and lungs. Toxicology testing, however, could take as long as four weeks to complete.

LSU spokesperson Ernie Ballard said in a press conference that the case is currently under investigation by the LSU Police Department as a potential hazing incident.

"The death of Matthew Gruver was tragic and untimely. A young man's life was cut short...and we mourn the loss and the possible impact he may have had on our region and the world," said LSU President F. King Alexander.

Alexander suspended all Greek Life activities on and off campus pending the results of a thorough investigation. He confirmed alcohol is part of the allegations, but says it's still very early in the investigation.

"We are investigating this matter with the utmost seriousness. As we have continually warned over and over again, hazing is dangerous, irresponsible and unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated at LSU," Alexander said.

The fraternity issued a statement saying Phi Delta Theta is shuttering the chapter immediately after concluding chapter members were in violation of the fraternity's Alcohol Free Housing policy.

"This is a very tragic situation that should have never happened," said Bob Biggs, Executive Vice President and CEO of Phi Delta Theta.

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