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Phi Delta Theta’s Response to Lawsuit Involving Former Chapter at Louisiana State University


Almost a year after the heartbreaking loss of Max Gruver, Phi Delta Theta continues to keep the entire Gruver family and the LSU Community in our thoughts and prayers. This is a very tragic situation that should have never happened.

Phi Delta Theta is a values-based organization that is committed to promoting a culture of responsibility in our chapters, and we remain vigilant in protecting the safety of our members and guests. This is why we removed the charter from the Louisiana Beta Chapter at Louisiana State University (LSU) and expelled all involved four days after the incident. We strongly advocate that those found to be involved and in violation of our risk management policies will be held accountable for their individual actions and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

We believe in the merits of a college fraternity but recognize the need for meaningful reform. In 2000, Phi Delta Theta was the first and largest fraternity to adopt and implement alcohol and substance-free housing. Throughout our history, we have endorsed and promoted initiatives to battle the societal issue of hazing.

Immediately after the situation, Phi Delta Theta initiated a thorough review of all the Fraternity’s health and safety initiatives. While these efforts continue, they have already resulted in the creation of required individual and chapter bystander education, a Good Samaritan policy, mandatory new member program development, and enhanced parent engagement and communication. A comprehensive listing of our health and safety programs can be found on the Phi Delta Theta website.

Most importantly, we continue to challenge our undergraduates and alumni to uphold the principles and values of Phi Delta Theta.

3 thoughts on “Phi Delta Theta’s Response to Lawsuit Involving Former Chapter at Louisiana State University

  1. While I appreciate the fraternity’s efforts to address this tragedy, the title of your article is misleading. It refers to the fraternity’s response to a lawsuit, but the article doesn’t discuss the lawsuit at all. Can you provide more information?


    –Guy Mayer (LA Delta ’84)

  2. Max Gruver’s death was devastating and preventable. All houses should be REQUIRED to have live-in advisors. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, knows that it’s a joke to state that fraternity houses are alcohol-free. When you put young adults/teenagers in an unsupervised fraternity house, there is going to be alcohol! My very own husband de-pledged Phi Delt almost 30 years ago due to hazing that was being conducted with alcohol and drugs. Looks as if your situation is only getting worse. I knew of a few Phi-Delt members dying back in the 80’s/90’s. Your organization, along with all other fraternal organizations, must get a grip on this herendous process called RUSH! It literally has taken young lives, including an extremely close friend of ours, Max Gruver. Max, his family, his friends, and his pledge brothers didn’t deserve this and the life-long pain Phi-Delt and LSU is ultimately responsible for. Again, PLEASE quit lying to yourselves and turning a blind-eye to rush practices. Take action and turn this travesty into something positive!

    Karrie Whitehead Willard

  3. This is all well and good, but the time has come for the leadership of each Greek fraternity to begin pointing fingers at other Greek fraternities. It is time for the FEA (as an organization) to actually do something…other than just coddle the executives of each Greek fraternity and selling them fire liability coverage. It is time for the PhiDelts to point fingers at Sigma Alpha Epsilon and ask them, “when is the racism and history of tragedy through hazing going to stop — once and for all. When are you going to proactively take steps to shake the reputation of being the “death fraternity?” As a Teke, I ask the same of you, Phi Delt, when are you going to stop talking and actually empliment NO TOLLERANC POLICIES?

    We have to end this ridiculous pattern of trying to solve problems autonomously, rather than collectively. Why? Because the correlation is there and rings loudly and clearly: When one chapter runs astray, it can easily damage an entire fraternity. Well, when one fraternity (and I AM looking squarely at you Sigma Alpha Epsilon) looses control, outsiders assume that all Greek fraternities are weak and out-of-control. Hmmmm, is their assumption far off base?

    When I was an active in the 80’s, it was illegal…ILLEGAL for any chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon to haze. Why is this not a had and fast rule throughout the entire Greek system, today? Yeah, so your retrospective assessment and weak attempt to wash your hands of Max Gruver’s untimely death falls short — miserably. Karrie Whitehead Willard was spot on, Phi Delta Theta, Signa ApLpha Epsilon…even Tau Kappa Epsilon fail our kids miserably because none of you have pushed to create unifying laws to prohibit specific behavior; or, as Karrie mentioned, to put in monitors, streamlining g the process of RUSH, a no tolerance policy on sexual abuse…and far reaching chapter penalties for sexual misconduct. It is time to rethink and recreate this “old boy network.”

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