FSU suspends fraternities and sororities in wake of student's death

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By: Tiffany Lewis | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 6, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Monday afternoon, Florida State University President John Thrasher announced the indefinite suspension of all fraternities and sororities at the school in the wake of a fraternity pledge's death.

20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died Friday at an off-campus residence hall. FSU said in a press release that Coffey was found unresponsive after attending a party.

FSU students have mixed reactions to the university's decision.

Members of the Greek community have been asked not to speak to the media. But non-Greek students are voicing their opinions.

"It's understandable because they just want to keep everybody safe, but it really wasn't the fault of all the other fraternities," said FSU student Jackson Parker. "Maybe the one should have just had a little better care for what they were doing, but all the other ones I don't think should be punished for that."

Other students seem to agree. Many that WCTV spoke to said they think certain chapters deserve sanctions, but not Greek life as a whole.

"I think it could be a little bit of a wake up call to spread awareness that they need to take precautions on what's happening," said FSU student Alexis Pippi. "But I do think that it's a little unfair to punish everyone."

But FSU is sticking with its decision.

"If we just pick and choose one or two and say these are the good guys and these are the not so good, then I don't think we've accomplished anything," said FSU President John Thrasher, "I think we can get a better solution by having everyone at the table, talking about how we can correct this."

President Thrasher says that he is clearly trying to send a message, and until the entire Greek community can come together to find a solution, they will remain under suspension.

The North-American Interfraternity Conference provided WCTV with a statement on the suspension, reading, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Andrew Coffey and the entire Florida State campus community during this difficult time. We stand ready to help FSU as it considers solutions to address the critical issues facing the campus community."


By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 6, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- FSU President John Thrasher announced Monday an immediate and indefinite suspension on all fraternity and sorority activities.

It comes after Friday's death of FSU student and Pi Kappa Phi fraternity pledge, 20-year-old Andrey Coffey.

"There are no words to describe the pain that Andrew's family, his friends and certainly the FSU family are experiencing right now," Thrasher said at an afternoon press conference. "It's my greatest hope that no other family member will have to suffer this type of tragedy."

"It's hard," Thrasher said. "Anytime a student dies it breaks your heart particularly in a case like this. We just wished we could have saved this individual," Thrasher said.

Thrasher also pointed to an unrelated arrest earlier in the day of a Phi Delta Theta fraternity member accused of selling cocaine.

We were able to talk with President Thrasher one on one after that media briefing. He explained further why he decided to suspend Greek activities campus wide.

"If you just choose one or two, saying these are the good guys and these are not so good, I don't think we've accomplished anything. I think we get a better solution by having everybody at the table talking about how to correct this," Thrasher said.

"It's obviously not just a problem for Florida State, it's a problem for just about every major university," Thrasher said.


By: Amy Robinson | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 6, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State University President John Thrasher has announced the indefinite suspension of all fraternities and sororities at the school in the wake of a fraternity pledge's death.

Thrasher made the announcement during a press conference on Monday afternoon.

20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died Friday at an off-campus residence hall. FSU said in a press release that Coffey was found unresponsive after attending a party.

FSU also announced that a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, 20-year-old Garrett John Marcy, was arrested on Monday in an unrelated case for the sale and trafficking of cocaine.

While Coffey's death remains under investigation, President Thrasher says the suspension, effective immediately, is needed to review and reflect on the loss of a young life.

Thrasher said in a statement, "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."

University officials say, in the coming weeks, the Division of Student Affairs will create and implement new measures in collaboration with students and other stakeholder groups.

Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht said, "To ensure the future of fraternity and sorority life, innovative practices will need to redefine our Greek community so that it positively contributes to the full well-being of students."

President Thrasher added that the timetable for lifting the suspension is up to the student community.

"They must work with us and demonstrate they fully understand the serious obligation they have to exercise responsible conduct," Thrasher said.

During the interim suspension, 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, intramurals, organized participation in Market Wednesday and organized participation in Homecoming.

Chapter members will be allowed to remain in their fraternity or sorority house and will have meal service. They can attend leadership classes, judicial and conduct hearings, and risk management education workshops offered by the university.

University officials say that failure to comply with the terms of the interim suspension could result in immediate disciplinary action.

"Like most universities, we worry about alcohol and drug abuse and other dangerous behaviors, and we are doing all we can to educate our students," Thrasher said. "But all of our student organizations — Greek organizations and the other recognized student organizations on campus — must step up. They will have to participate in the solution."

Video of the press conference is available below:



 
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