Fallout for FSU Greek life continues

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 7, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The fallout continues at Florida State University as Greek life is once again making headlines.

On Tuesday, Florida State Police arrested 22-year-old Daniel Martin on drug charges. Martin is a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, the same fraternity in which a pledge died on Friday.

That arrest came one day after 20-year-old Garret Marcy was arrested for cocaine trafficking. Marcy was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

And on Friday, the Tallahassee Police Department responded to a report of an unresponsive student at an off campus home. That student was identified as 20-year-old Andrew Coffey, who was pledging for the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. He was pronounced dead. An official cause of death has yet to be determined, but police said alcohol could be a factor.

"We have a cultural issue here that we need to deal with," said FSU President John Thrasher.

Thrasher announced on Monday that all fraternities and sororities are suspended indefinitely. Since the announcement, he said he's gotten responses from all over- statewide to nationwide.

"Most people understand it. There are some who think we cast the net too broadly. And my response is I want the entire Greek community involved in the solution," said Thrasher.

He also noted that since the announcement meetings have already begun with representatives from the Greek community to work towards a solution.

The North-American Inter-fraternity Council released this statement about Thrasher's decision:

“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."

The recent incidents are not the only times that there have been issues with Greek life on campus. In February 2016 Tau Kappa Epsilon was suspended after allegations that members made victims act as slaves. In April 2016 Kappa Alpha Psi was suspended for hazing allegations. In May 2016 Omega Psi Phi was suspended for hazing allegations. And, in June 2017 Zeta Beta Tau was suspended for six years after an investigation into hazing that started in fall 2016.

Some students described the university as having a reputation for partying that revolves around Greek life.

"Whenever I say I'm from Florida State, it's, 'Oh, that's the party school,'" said Maddie Parrish, a sophomore on campus. "You hear so many horror stories from years past, 'Don't go upstairs in a frat house.' Stuff like that. It's constantly running through your head."

In light of this reputation- and the latest incidents- some on campus are on board with Thrasher's decision.

"Obviously we had to do something to honor and realize this is a problem within our university," said FSU sophomore Daisy Judge. Judge is not a member of a sorority affiliated with the Panhellenic Conference, but is a member of a Christian service sorority on campus.

Others hope that Coffey's startling death will prompt real change on campus.

"Do I think that they're going to fix it? Or at least talk it out? I definitely think that's going to happen. Especially with the power fraternities have around campus," said Jaime Vergara a senior at FSU.

The Tallahassee Police Department has said it is investigating Coffey's death as an "active criminal investigation," however the department won't decide if any charges are necessary until an autopsy is complete. The force is currently continuing to investigate and talk to witnesses and those who knew Coffey.

An eight page police report that was released to the public remains mostly redacted, as the investigation is still open. However it details information about four people, one of those being Andrew Coffey. The information on the remaining three people is completely redacted.

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