FSU's President Thrasher lifts portions of Greek life ban

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By: Amy Robinson | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 29, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida State University President John Thrasher has announced that portions of a ban on Greek life activity at the university have now been lifted.

Thrasher made the announcement at a press conference on Monday afternoon at FSU's Westcott Building.

President Thrasher says fraternities and sororities at FSU will now be allowed to resume recruitment and philanthropic activities, but social activities are still suspended until further notice. Thrasher says the possibility of reinstating participation in social events will be addressed later in the semester.

The Greek life suspension has been in place since November 6, just three days after the death of 20-year-old Andrew Coffey. Coffey, a pledge of FSU's now-defunct Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter, was found dead following an off-campus fraternity party. An autopsy revealed that Coffey died from alcohol poisoning.

Nine Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members are now facing felony hazing charges in Coffey's death.

The resulting Greek life suspension prohibited all fraternity and sorority chapters at the university from holding any chapter-organized events or participating in school activities as a group.

Upon instituting the suspension back in November, President Thrasher said, "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."

On Monday, Thrasher said, “I’ve said all along that in order for there to be real change on campus, students must be part of the solution. Our students are now beginning to fully understand the serious obligation they have to behave responsibly. They have demonstrated this during the past three months and have pledged to continue to do so.”

A ban on alcohol remains in effect for all FSU fraternities, sororities, and the 700 recognized student organizations on campus.

Thrasher also outlined a new set of guidelines for students participating in Greek life, including measures such as new grade-point average requirements, community service hours, and hazing prevention training.

In a press release, university officials provided an overview of three broad areas undergoing changes, as follows:

Expectations and Values
• New requirement for a chapter grade-point average of 2.5.
• A minimum average of 10 documented hours of service per semester per member.
• Requires students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority complete a special orientation program prior to recruitment so potential members understand expectations.
• All IFC fraternities will conduct a comprehensive membership review of all members in collaboration with their national organization and advisers to ensure all members can commit to the fraternity’s values, policies and expectations.

Oversight
• Launch of a new “Scorecard” available to the public on the university’s website communicating information about each chapter to increase transparency.
• A significant modification of the student conduct process to add faculty and staff to student review panels that hear Greek conduct cases.
• The implementation of new membership dues to help support the hiring of staff who work directly with the Greek system and the addition of new educational programs.
• Requirement that all chapters have an Advisory Board with special training.

Risk Reduction
• A shortened new member period of six weeks for IFC fraternities.
• Socials with alcohol limited to four during fall semester and six during spring semester.
• Events with alcohol at houses allowed only if the chapter uses third-party vendors, provides food and has police or security officers approved by the FSU Police Department present for the duration of the event.
• New rules for tailgating events held by Greek organizations.
• New requirements for members to be trained in hazing prevention and leadership development.

University officials say the complete plan is available for review online at ofsl.union.fsu.edu.

"Our students have acknowledged and demonstrated their understanding of our university values and expectations," President Thrasher said. "This marks the beginning of what we hope will be a real culture shift on campus – but certainly not the end."

To watch President Thrasher's complete press conference, click on the video player below:

For continuing coverage on the investigation into Andrew Coffey's death and the Greek life suspension at FSU, click here.



 
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