FSU suspends all Greek life after death of pledge


Dreamstime/Tribune News Service

FSU suspended all Greek life on campus after a fraternity pledge died last Friday following a party. Alcohol is suspected to be related to his death.

Meredith Hoffman, Assistant News Editor

Florida State University [FSU] President John Thrasher moved to impose an indefinite suspension of all 54 fraternities and sororities on the university’s campus three days after the death of a fraternity pledge on Nov. 3.

Andrew Coffey was a 20-year-old transfer student to FSU pledging the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity when he was found dead the morning after a social event hosted on Friday evening, Nov. 3. The cause of death, as explained by Police Chief Michael DeLeo, was related to Coffey’s alcohol consumption.

In addition to the death of Coffey, another fraternity at FSU, Phi Delta Theta, is under police investigation for illegal activity including the trafficking of cocaine.

Thrasher has not given a timeline for the suspension, saying “for this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek Life at the university, there must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it.”

The move by Thrasher makes FSU at least the third university in the United States to suspend Greek life in some capacity in 2017, the previous of which being Pennsylvania State University and Louisiana State University.

An official press release from Thrasher shared by the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at FSU explained the administrative decision to suspend Greek life, which made it clear the suspension was aimed at creating an example of the Greek life at FSU to show that the administration will not stand by as these sorts of actions continue.

Coffey is far from being the only fraternity pledge to die in the U.S. In February of this year, Pennsylvania State University pledge Timothy Piazza died whilst pledging Beta Theta Pi due to forced binge drinking in an event called “The Gauntlet.” Additionally, the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon [SAE] is under fire nationally for having 10 pledging-related deaths in an eight-year period between 2005 and 2013.

In total, 26 people have died in the last 10 years from hazing-related incidents around the country. FSU administration cites statistics such as these as their rational behind the suspension of Greek life indefinitely.

In the days following the suspension, however, it has become clear that not all FSU students support the measure; an anonymous sorority member on FSU’s campus told FSU News that the move was “unfair” because the problems with campus Greek life were with fraternity hazing, not sorority hazing.

Another student, Jordan Greer is a senior at FSU and talked about the suspension in an interview with The Tallahassee Democrat.

“I think ending all of them, including professional fraternities and sororities and those types of things, is a little extreme,” he said. “However, I don’t disagree with the notion pushed forward that we need to address the way these cultures work, within fraternities and sororities.”

While opinions on the suspension range from favorable to disapproving, the administration at FSU has made it clear that until significant change is achieved, Greek life on campus will remain off limits.