Florida State suspends Greek life following alcohol death
TALLAHASSEE (FOX 13) - The president of Florida State University has suspended all Greek life, effective immediately. The action comes three days after a student died at an off-campus fraternity pledge party, and on the same day another fraternity member was arrested on cocaine charges.
Andrew Coffey was a 20-year-old pledge for fraternity Pi Kappa Phi. Whatever happened at the very last pledge party ended the student's life.
"Anytime a student dies, it breaks your heart," President John Thrasher said. "I mean, whether it's an accident, but particularly something like this, we just wish we could have saved this individual. Sometimes, an accident, nothing you can do about that. This is something we have to address."
Coffey was found unresponsive Friday morning. Officers were seen collecting alcohol bottles as evidence, though investigators have not yet revealed what killed him.
On Monday, after a member of another fraternity member was arrested for selling and trafficking cocaine, President Thrasher made the big announcement.
"Fraternity and sorority chapters will be prohibited from holding new member events, council or chapter meetings, chapter organized tailgates, chapter events such as socials, philanthropy retreats, and intramurals," Thrasher said.
Thrasher said there's a serious problem, not just at FSU, but at just about every major university. He wants to send a message to parents that the campus is safe.
"We can't police 42,000 students and I don't intend to do that. That's not what we're here to do," Thrasher said. "We're here to educate them. But, on things like this, they've got to be a part of the solution."
Perry Dube of Tampa is a 2013 Florida State grad and was a member of the Chi Phi fraternity.
"It really is supposed to be about the brotherhood," Dube said. "It's a group of people coming together, not only to form friendships but to benefit the community as a whole."
He said he supports the president's decision.
"Think back to how this family is feeling, of the kid who passed away," Dube said. "I don't think it would be right for anyone if they didn't try to make sure it didn't happen again."
Fraternity life, for Dube, meant friendship, philanthropy and business experience. He believes the recent incidents aren't representative of all campus Greek life.
"It's possible it could have been isolated to one organization but the university has make sure this isn't a systematic problem and this isn't something that could happen again," Dube continued.
It's not clear how long this Greek life ban will stay in effect. The president said he hopes, that through discussion and sharing of ideas, they'll be able to come up with a long-term solution. He said "there will need to be a new normal for Greek life on campus."