Turning Tragedy into Progress: #EndHazingNow

Mothers of hazing victims share their powerful story at Cal U.

Members of Cal U fraternities, sororities, sports clubs and others gathered in the Steele Auditorium lobby on Feb. 23, 2020, to sign a banner pledging not to participate in hazing activities. The banner will be on display in the Natali Student Center.

Cal U Fraternity and Sorority Life

More than 300 students filed into Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre on Sunday evening to listen to Evelyn Piazza and Rae Ann Gruver as they continue their fight to #EndHazingNow. Piazza and Gruver are mothers who both lost their sons in tragic hazing incidents in 2017 (Timothy Piazza in February at Penn State, Max Gruver in September at LSU).

As the students entered Steele Hall, they were given two wristbands, one from the Gruver Foundation that reads “#FlyHighMax” and “#StopTheHazing”, and one from the Piazza Foundation that reads “Live Like Tim” and “Never Stop Laughing”; they also had the opportunity to sign a banner pledging not to participate in hazing activities. During the presentation, the mothers asked the students to wear the wristbands, or attach them to their backpacks, to keep them somewhere to remind them to stop the hazing and keep each other safe.

McKenna Ferris, President of the Panhellenic Council introduced the two women at the start of the program. The Piazzas and the Gruvers were both instrumental in changes in stricter legislation in Pennsylvania and in Louisiana and are trying to inspire other states to do the same.

The mothers each talked about their sons, who they were as people, what their plans were before tragedy took their lives. “Hazing should not be a part of your college experience or the college experience of your friends,” Evelyn Piazza said. Hazing does not just occur in fraternities/sororities, but it occurs in other aspects of college life, and that makes it dangerous for all students.

The audience included members of the fraternities and sororities, Sports Clubs, and Gamma Sigma Sigma Service Sorority. Representatives from other organizations including Phi Sigma Pi, Kappa Kappa Psi, Alpha Psi Omega, and other student organizations were also in attendance.

The program was sponsored by Fraternity and Panhellenic Councils, Gamma Sigma Sigma Service Sorority, Sports Clubs, and Fraternity & Sorority Life. The Fraternity and Panhellenic Councils donated $200.00 to each of the foundations.