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Max Gruver's parents share story of hazing death and talk prevention

Posted at 10:33 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 23:35:41-04

The parents of an LSU pledge, who died during a hazing incident two years ago are hoping to keep his legacy alive.

Tonight, Max Gruver's family shared his story with students on campus at UL. They're hoping no other family has to experience what they went through.

"This is what Max would have wanted us to do. We read a passage he had written. He was a journalist. He wrote, that God works in funny ways. He does bad things in the end to create good," Steve Gruver, Max's dad said.

Max's parents say that message put them on the path to create good out of loss and tragedy. In the last year, they've traveled across country to share the dangers of hazing.

Max's mom, Rae Ann said, "We want them to feel like they're empowered with their voices to talk about it, to prevent it. If they know it's happening, stand up for themselves or their friends to say no. They need to be comfortable with an uncomfortable conversation."

The UL students we talked to believe it's important to not shy away from these tough talks.

"The more we talk about it, the more the conversation evolves and hopefully if we keep talking about it, one day, hazing will be eradicated," said Angelle Dartez, a senior at UL.

Max Prosper, a junior at UL said, "It's a problem that spans across the nation."

The Gruvers say those who have experienced hazing will live with that trauma for life. They believe it's important to speak up if you see wrong doing.

"There's still a lot of work that needs to come with respect to education and learning about what the law is and entails for prosecutors to be able to use it properly," Steve said.

Last year, Governor Edwards signed Max's bill into law.

Hazing can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. UL has a zero tolerance policy. They've also added ways to report hazing allegations online.

UL Dean of Students, Margarita Perez said, "It's most important that we stop it early, we report and we make sure that we continue the conversation. It's important to hold students accountable for this behavior."

Tuesday, the Gruvers will take their message to LSU.