LSU's campus, Greek life forever changed after Gruver's death
BATON ROUGE - LSU's campus is forever changed since Max Gruver's hazing death nearly two years ago. School administrators have been working on changing Greek life and eradicating hazing from the university's campus.
Morgan Johnson, lead prosecutor in the Matthew Naquin trial, let her emotions show after winning the case Wednesday.
"I want them to understand that Max is a victim and it could happen to any of our children," she said.
Johnson and the Gruver family hope Naquin's negligent homicide conviction will make people think twice before hazing.
LSU echoing that sentiment in a statement released Wednesday afternoon:
"Our hearts ache for the Gruvers and all those impacted by this trial and the verdict reached today. Hazing is an irresponsible and dangerous activity that we do not tolerate at LSU. These tragedies and the penalties that follow can be prevented and we have been working diligently to put more safeguards, education and reporting outlets, in place for our students regarding hazing. Today's verdict shows that allegations of hazing are fully investigated, and those found responsible face criminal charges."
However, students on campus are skeptical that anything will change for good.
"I feel like it would [change] but only for a certain about of time," said Darryl Barard. "I think time heals everything, and maybe in about five to ten years people are going to gradually forget. Rest in peace to his soul, but I think for now it will affect the circumstances. As time moves on, I think things will naturally gravitate toward what it used to be."
But prosecutors say they'll work to keep the memory alive—a reminder, forever, that hazing is wrong.
"I would hope that if I ever had this tragedy happen to me and my son, I would have the grace and the grit that [Max's parents] have had dealing with this," Johnson said. "That's what inspired me in this case, along with getting justice and getting the truth out about what happened that night and holding people accountable for their actions."