We Can All Learn From The Tim Piazza And Max Gruver Tragedies
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We Can All Learn From The Tim Piazza And Max Gruver Tragedies

Hazing is a nationwide issue that has stolen the lives of too many promising young adults who had their entire lives ahead of them. Let's do better.

We Can All Learn From The Tim Piazza And Max Gruver Tragedies

I had the privilege of hearing the Piazza and Gruver families speak at my school this past week. For any of you who aren't familiar, Timothy Piazza was a nineteen-year-old Penn State sophomore who died in 2017 after the result of a hazing incident at a fraternity he was pledging, Beta Theta Pi. Max Gruver was a freshman at Louisiana State University who passed away later that same year after hazing led to him dying of alcohol poisoning. These were preventable, unimaginable horrors that two young men experienced for no reason other than because their 'brothers' wanted them to work for the brotherhood that they signed up for.

Sitting in the audience, I looked around at many other students around me just to make sure everyone was taking this as seriously as it deserved. I was specifically glancing at the men who were all members of fraternities here on campus. This was almost my way of checking to be sure that they weren't blowing this off as just another speaker they had to check off their list or just another hour of their life that they would rather spend with their bros. I wanted to be sure that they were taking this seriously. And it seemed like they were, for the most part.

There was a crisp silence in the auditorium as Mrs. Gruver described in graphic detail her son's final moments. Tears flooded down faces as Mr. Piazza talked about how he should've been at the Indiana football game the day before, grilling food for his sons and their friends. But he wasn't, because he was in Harrisburg preparing with the Gruvers to speak to us today about his deceased son.

It isn't fair.

The entire presentation broke my heart, and I marveled at the strength that both families exhibited after losing their children. But that goes to show how serious of an issue hazing is. These families have both endured unimaginable losses—but they want their heartbreak to inspire change. And it should.

I appreciated the point that both families made during their presentation where they mentioned that it wasn't just Greek life that was at fault for hazing. Because this isn't just a Greek life issue. Other organizations and clubs are just as to blame when they initiate new members in ways that endanger and humiliate them. The Piazzas and the Gruvers acknowledged that there are also some sororities and fraternities who don't haze—and that's great! But they pointed out that they are aware that hazing still happens—and it's not going to stop by turning a blind eye or naively believing that what happened to their sons is just another news story that could never happen to you.

It's time we stopped using the term 'brother' and 'sister' in name only. It's time that we grew spines and put our own selfish worries about getting in trouble aside so that kids don't keep ending up dead. We need to learn from this so history doesn't repeat itself. If we don't, we're going to end up seeing more names of young people in the headlines and be filled with regret for the rest of our lives because we could've prevented it, but we didn't.

It could be your brother. It could be your sister. It could be you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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