UL investigating allegations against four frats; national offici - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

UL investigating allegations against four frats; national officials visiting this week

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Maxwell Gruver's life was short, but its premature end has affected many, including the UL community. 

UL Dean of Students Margarita Perez said Wednesday that Gruver's death following an alleged fraternity hazing event caused many at the university to stop and think.

 "We received information, and we believe it was spurred by the Max's death," Perez said. "Many students have friends at LSU, and they are feeling the direct impact of the loss of Max. It really has impacted our community. And it has encouraged, motivated people to come forward with information they either heard or saw."

As first reported by The Vermilion, the university's student-run newspaper, information came in in the weeks following Gruver's death that caused the university to suspend activities of four UL fraternities, she said: Theta Xi, Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Nu and Sigma Alpha Epsilon. 

When asked if she would characterize the information as information or complaints, she responded: 

"We received pieces of information, and we've looked into it a little further, to determine the possibility of being true. We notified their national organizations and local leadership, that we have this allegation and we believe we need to suspend activities," she said. "I would describe it as a pause. We stopped all activities, all meetings, put a stop to what's going on right now, until we can figure out what is happening in the organization."

Perez said national officials with the four fraternities will be visiting Lafayette this week and next, to work with UL officials in the investigation, which she described as "in progress."

"It's to early to say" how long the investigations and suspensions will last, she said, especially since each case is different. 

"All allegations are not the same," she said. "But we're having good conversations and everybody is cooperating."

Perez said the university does not have control over local chapters of national fraternities. 

"The way it is set up all across the country, universities have very limited authority over these organizations," she explained. "This is why the partnership between the university and the national organization is so important. The national organizations have more control over what's happening than do the universities."

Following Gruver's death, Gov. John Bel Edwards instructed all state universities to re-examine their hazing policies and provide him with a report before the end of the month. Perez said she feels that's a good idea. 

"Any time you have something like this happen, you start to question what's going on in an organization or in society," she said. "We need to make sure the practices we have are still needed and still relevant. We need to look at our policies and procedures, look at what we're doing, and see if we should stop doing some things, add other things. I think it was a great call of our Governor." 

Although the relationship between fraternities and the university is "complicated," Perez said she believes they all have the same goal.

"We all want the same thing, and that is successful fraternities and sororities on our campuses. We want to provide our students with leadership skills, service opportunities; we want these organizations," she said. "They impact our communities in positive ways. It's unfortunate that they're often not recognized for all the good they do."

Another thing they can gain, especially from this situation, is the lesson that actions have consequences, sometimes unintended, she said. 

"We want them to live their values," she said. 

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