Lawsuits allege hazing, filed against ULL fraternities

The governor on hazing

(WVUE) - Hazing is not some innocent activity. It's not a rite of passage, it's actually illegal," said Governor John Bel Edwards.

Edwards spoke Thursday, voicing concerns about hazing, alcohol and drug abuse on Louisiana's college campuses.

His words come as new allegations emerge against University of Louisiana Lafayette fraternity members, accused of keeping a pledge awake for three days. That student fell asleep behind the wheel, crashing into another ULL student.

"Too many lives are lost and it just breaks my heart," said Tulane University student Rachel Yura.

Yura says the recent surge in deaths due to hazing is unacceptable.

"What's been going on in the fraternities is just disgusting and it makes me sick to my stomach and I want it to end," Yura said.

Yura is not alone. Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the media, Thursday, calling for continued discussion and action against hazing.

"That we have adequate public safety on our college campuses is something we should all be very concerned about. And one of the saddest things in the world is having a child go off to college and enter into a phase in his or her life that should be exciting, it should be fun and then that individual never enters into adulthood because that life was cut short because of hazing," explains Edwards.

It comes on the heels of two new lawsuits claiming fraternity members at Louisiana University forced a pledge to stay awake for three days straight, before falling asleep at the wheel and crashing into another student, killing him.

The victim's mother sued the fraternity in September, and so did the pledge.

Michael Gallagher Jr. sued Kappa Sigma and university officials, claiming they knew or should have known hazing was going on.

Edwards initially called for a review of hazing policies after the death of LSU student Max Gruver.

"Our hearts break for Max Gruver's family. No family should have to live through that," said Edwards.

Edwards also sent out a stern reminder that hazing is illegal.

"It's not just a tragedy for the family that loses a loved one, it is a tragedy for all of the students who engage in that and then are going to be arrested and prosecuted for a crime," he said.

Students we spoke to say, it's about time officials have a discussion about the dangers and consequences of hazing.

"I think that there needs to be an emphasis, that hazing isn't really acceptable within Greek life because it's not really talked about," said Tulane student Charisse Comart.

Wednesday, LSU's president suspended all Greek organizations from hosting events with alcohol. This, less than a week after the death of a pledge out of Florida State University.

FSU has indefinitely suspended all Greek life on campus.

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