In 2018, four families joined with the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values (AFLV), Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA), HazingPrevention.Org and others to form the Anti-Hazing Coalition. As part of the AHC, several of the parents speak at college and high school campuses, as well as to organizations, to share their sons’ stories and educate about hazing prevention.
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity invited the parents of three fraternity men who lost their lives from hazing to the 83rd John O. Moseley Leadership School. This is a recap of their session.
Richard and Maille Braham
Marquise Braham was majoring in bio-medical engineering at Penn State Altoona and was secretary of his residence hall association. He joined a fraternity to get further involved. Marquise was hazed and in his second semester and was urged to haze others. Over his spring break in 2014, Richard and Maille Braham lost their son when he took his own life. Since then, Rich has been an advocate against hazing and has spoken at many colleges and universities. Rich is a Managing Editor at ABC News and lives in Queens, New York, with his wife, Maille, and two children, Selene and Sebastian.
Danny and Debbie Debrick
Dalton was the kid that could light up the room with his smile or make someone’s day with one of his big hugs. Dalton loved life and loved being with his family and friends. Dalton said he wanted to make a difference in kids lives. Dalton was killed in a hazing incident just one day before he was to walk into his first college class as a freshman at Texas Tech. Dalton died on bid night after consuming beer and hard liquor during a hazing activity for the new members. Since then, Debbie Debrick has been an advocate against hazing speaking at universities and colleges and very active in getting the new hazing law passed in Texas in 2019. The Debrick’s raise money each year to fund scholarships and contribute to the Irving YMCA Sports and Aquatic programs in Dalton’s memory. Danny and Debbie live in Midlothian, Texas, with their youngest son Devon.
Steve and Rae Ann Gruver
Rae Ann and Stephen Gruver describe their son Max as a “gentle giant.” He was a sports fanatic and wrote for a sports website even before starting as a journalism major at Louisiana State University. Just weeks into his first semester, Max died after being forced to consume 190-proof alcohol in a fraternity hazing activity. The Gruvers have been fighting hazing ever since, including founding the Max Gruver Foundation and working to pass new hazing laws in Louisiana. Rae Ann is a Clemson University graduate and member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and Stephen is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Charlotte. They live in Roswell, Georgia, with their son Alex and daughter Lily Kate.
Lianne and Brian Kowiak’s son Harrison was an accomplished athlete and scholar, attending Lenoir-Rhyne University on a golf and academic scholarship. Harrison lost his life because of fraternity hazing during his sophomore year in college at the age of 19. Today, Lianne is a hazing prevention advocate and board member of HazingPrevention.Org, having spoken to thousands of students at universities and high schools. Her mission is to raise awareness and education to the dangers of hazing and to save lives. Lianne and Brian live in Tampa, and their daughter Emma is in college. In lieu of speaker's fees, all donations are designated to the Harrison Kowiak Scholarship Fund. The family chooses to "pay it forward" and individuals awarded the scholarship attend the Hazing Prevention Institute and are awarded a travel stipend.
Jim and Evelyn Piazza
Tim Piazza dreamed of one day helping children and veterans through development of state-of-the-art prosthetics. His parents, Jim and Evelyn, describe him as a “loving kid” who invested in relationships with his family, friends and girlfriend. Yet in 2017, at 19, Tim passed away after a fraternity hazing ritual where he was forced to drink at least 18 drinks over an hour and a half and suffered injuries after a fall. Since then, Jim and Evelyn have been working to stop hazing. They were instrumental in passing a bill in Tim’s name to strengthen Pennsylvania’s hazing laws, and started the Timothy J. Piazza Memorial Foundation to provide help for children and adults who need prosthesis -- doing their part to fulfill Tim’s dream. They live in Readington, New Jersey, and their son Mike graduated Penn State and will be working for a large accounting firm in Philadelphia starting Fall 2019. Jim is a partner in a large professional services firm and graduated from Rider University. Evelyn graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey.