Top News
Medical tests of P Chidambaram conducted inside CBI headquarters: Sources  ||   Insult of Dalit voices cannot be tolerated: Priyanka Gandhi  ||   Police ban unlawful assembly ahead of Raj Thackeray's visit to ED office  ||   Enslaved Africans landed in Virginia in 1619. USA TODAY is committed to telling the story, past and present  ||   Yale failed to stop professor who sexually assaulted students over decades, report says  ||   Hong Kong police in standoff with protesters after sit-in  ||   Charlize Theron is dead ringer for Megyn Kelly in tense first trailer for 'Bombshell'  ||   Cindy McCain says there is no 'voice of reason' in GOP, nearly a year after John McCain's death  ||   Trump: India, other nations at some point would have to fight against terrorists in Afghanistan  ||   Punjab, Assam and Mizoram accords under Rajiv Gandhi strengthened Indian Union: Rahul Gandhi  ||   Fires in Amazon rainforest have surged this year  ||   India's ties with Bangladesh today better than ever: Indian envoy to UN Syed Akbaruddin  ||   The first manned dive to the Titanic in 14 years found a wreck in 'shocking' decay. The photos are spooky  ||   IAF to get first Rafale fighter jet next month  ||   Bethenny Frankel posts mushy Instagram thanks. Reports say she's leaving 'Real Housewives'  ||   California releases man from prison, begins rewind of overly harsh long-term sentences  ||   Dale Earnhardt Jr. still plans to drive Xfinity race at Darlington despite recent plane crash  ||   Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drops bid for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination  ||   Newer insulin 3-5 times costlier in India, says study  ||   'America's Got Talent': Which 7 acts made it to the semifinals? Who was eliminated?  ||            

Should universities be blamed in fraternity hazing deaths? Lawsuit says yes  1 Month ago

Source:   USA Today  

A court ruling in a civil lawsuit against Louisiana State University could make universities culpable for fraternity hazing deaths nationally. 

The parents of Max Gruver are seeking damages from the university after the 18-year-old died in 2017 following a fraternity hazing ritual that involved drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol. The family's attorneys contend the university has failed to protect male students in Greek life in the same way it had with women in sororities. 

In a ruling on the suit, Judge Shelly Dick on Friday partially denied the university's attempt to dismiss the case and said, "If these facts are proven, a jury may infer that LSU’s policy created the heightened risk to Greek male student of serious injury or death by hazing, thereby inflicting the injury alleged herein.”

Gruver was a freshman in 2017 when he was pledging for Phi Delta Theta at LSU. As part of pledging, he had to "chug hard liquor," which led to his death. And earlier this week, a jury found Matthew Naquin, 21, guilty of negligent homicide. He faces up to five years in prison. According to those who were there for the hazing, Naquin appeared to lead the ritual and targeted Gruver.  

Public attitudes toward fraternities have grown increasingly critical in recent years as young men die in hazing incidents with what seems like little accountability or course correction.  

Gruver's family is seeking $25 million. Among other things, the suit argues the university had failed to warn male students about the dangers of hazing and failed to address the bad behaviors of fraternities while disciplining sororities that acted out of line. 

The selective enforcement on the basis of sex amounts to a Title IX violation, said the family’s attorney, Douglas Fierberg. Title IX is a federal law meant to prevent sex discrimination in colleges that receive federal money. The law is generally associated with men and women's athletic programs and in recent years has been tied to sexual assault and harassment investigations.

In its motion to dismiss the case, the university argued the family was trying to use Title IX too broadly. The university also said the plaintiffs had failed to prove Gruver was sexually harassed or discriminated against based on his gender. 

Dick denied in part the university’s motion to dismiss as it related to the Title IX claims, which means the case can move forward. 

To hold universities accountable for the behavior of fraternities through Title IX is new ground, said Fierberg, an attorney with a long resume of representing families whose children have died in hazing incidents. He argued that the court’s decision will set “new standards” for universities. 

“The entire education system has to come to grips with this,” Fierberg told USA TODAY.

The university hadn’t seen the court decision as of Saturday and would not comment on it beyond to say “this was merely a preliminary motion,” wrote spokesman Ernie Ballard. 

After the Naquin verdict, the university issued a statement that said, “Hazing is an irresponsible and dangerous activity that we do not tolerate at LSU.”

The suit clearly pushes the boundaries of Title IX enforcement, said Peter Lake, a professor of law at Stetson University and an expert on Title IX. .

“It kicks a door open and says you can go root around at a college policy enforcement system,” Lake said. “And if you see gender variations of any kind, you've got enough information to ask a federal court to hear a case.” 

In 2017, Gruver was one of four young men to die in hazing-related incidents. 

His death followed that of Timothy Piazza, a freshman at Pennsylvania State University, who fell down a flight of stairs during a hazing ritual in which he drank "a life-threatening amount of alcohol." 

In response, state lawmakers have started passing laws that make hazing a crime. In Pennsylvania, hazing that leads to death can result in a felony charge. Additionally, schools have to track hazing incidents and publicly report them.

Louisiana passed a similar series of new laws after Gruver’s death that increased the legal penalties for hazing. In the most extreme case, a person could face five years in prison if the incident resulted in death. 

There has been national pressure, too. Reps. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., introduced a bill in June meant to “eradicate hazing on college campuses.” It would require colleges to track and report hazing incidents and punishment doled out by the school.  

The question of how much autonomy colleges have over Greek life is a tricky one. There are private groups that operate outside the university. Colleges may suspend Greek life activities after someone dies but then bring them back later. And banning them outright may drive the activity underground. In their motion to dismiss, LSU’s attorneys wrote when describing the night of Gruver’s death that “no LSU employees or agents were involved in the hazing incident.”

To Lake there’s also something larger at play. The lawsuit represents the public’s desire to push back on universities that have been opaque about the way they handle student misconduct. 

“The public wants to see inside our operation,” he said. “We don’t get just to be Hogwarts anymore. The Muggles want to know what we’re doing here.” 

More News
About Us Terms & Conditions Disclaimer
Advertise Contact
register and win

NRIS.COM is one of the premier NRI website that provides a range of resourceful services to Indian expats residing in the USA. Visiting the site you will find comprehensive information related to restaurants, casinos, pubs, temples, carpool, movies, education, real estate, and forums. The simple and easy to navigate format allows NRIs to gain information within a fraction of a second. Moreover, advertising through its column of Indian free classifieds in USA allow businesses to improve visibility of their brand.

DE NRI's Chat (0 Users Online)