South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Greek life, Athletics, and ROTC learn dangers of hazing

Two moms who lost their sons to hazing give a presenation about hazings on college campuses
Katie Yunker
Members of Greek life, athletics and ROTC meet presenters Rae Ann Gruver and Evelyn Piazza at their presentation Feb. 6 in Club 71.

Two mothers who lost their sons tofraternity hazing presented “Love, Mom& Dad,” at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadiumin Club 71 Tuesday, Feb. 6. Evelyn Piazzaand Rae Ann Gruver used their time inBrookings to tell people how hazing hasimpacted their lives.

They shared edu-cated information with the crowd andissued a call to action to prevent hazing.Timothy Piazza died Feb. 4, 2017, at theformer Theta Beta Pi House at Penn Statedue to head trauma from multiple falls.Since then, his parents, Jim and EvelynPiazza have worked to raise awarenessabout the dangers of hazing.

They alsopassed the Timothy J. Piazza Law (StateSenate Bill 1090), which creates a cate-gory in organizational and institutionalhazing and makes them both punishableby law.Maxwell Gruver was died weeksinto the 2017 fall semester at LSU whilepledging to Phi Delta Theta from acutealcohol poisoning and aspiration.The Gruvers created the Max GruverFoundation and helped pass the MaxGruver Anti-Hazing Act.

This act makeshazing a felony Louisiana.South Dakota is 1 of 6 states that doesnot have a law prohibiting hazing. To goabout this, a person must go to their locallegislature and present the bill. Next, thecommittee will research, discuss, andmake changes to the bill. The bill is thenput before the chamber for a vote.

“South Dakota should not wait until ahazing death occurs,” Gruver said. “SouthDakota should be proactive and not reac-tive in creating a law to protect youngadults in your state.”

This summer, SDSU Sigma Phi EpsilonPresident Blake Gibney met Gruver andPiazza at the Rich Leadership Institutewhere they presented “Love, Mom &Dad.”“Very few presentations that I havesat through made me feel emotional,”Gibney who added that the presentationmade him think of his brother, who isalso college-aged.Gibney brought Gruver and Piazza toSDSU to spread awareness and give areal-world example of why hazing is sodangerous.

According to Gruver, “Hazing is makinganother person do anything in order to bepart of your group.”Since 2000, there have been morethan 50 hazing-related deaths on collegecampuses.These deaths have varied from heat-stroke to cardiac arrest, to aspiration.Hazing comes in many different forms,small and large.

“Love, Mom & Dad,”spoke primarily about active hazing pre-vention in the student body.Gibney and Sig Ep’s executive boardensures hazing prevention throughchapter education and reminds thechapter why hazing is detrimental to newinitiates and initiated chapter.

Gruver,Piazza and Gibney also encourage the“see something, say something” system.“Feel empowered to report when some-thing does not seem right. Feel empow-ered to step in,” Gruver said.South Dakota State University takesmeasures to ensure that hazing events donot take place outside of or in the house,according to Katie Yunker, programadvisor for Greek Life at SDSU.

“Fraternity and Sorority Life takes astrong stance against hazing,” Yunkersaid. “We provide continuous educationto all of our members on how to preventhazing in their respective organizations,support the efforts of national organiza-tions to end hazing, and promote newmember activities that build cohesion andfoster belonging among all members.”

To learn more about the Max GruverFoundation and Timothy J PiazzaFoundation visit:



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