Florida State University (FSU) has indefinitely shut down its 54 fraternities and sororities in the wake of the alcohol-related death of a student. Around 10:25 a.m. on Friday (November 3)—the morning after a house party about a mile away from campus—20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity pledge, was reportedly found unresponsive. He received medical attention, but died on the scene.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the student’s family and friends,” Pi Kappa Phi Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes said in a statement provided to the Tallahassee Democrat. “We appreciate the partnership and support from the Division of Student Affairs during this difficult time.”
Reports also note the arrest of 20-year-old Garret John Marcy, a Phi Delta Theta fraternity member who was charged with the sale and trafficking of cocaine, according to a news release cited by The Washington Post.
According to USA Today, the suspension prohibits all fraternity and sorority chapters from holding organization socials, including new member events, chapter meetings, chapter organized tailgates, philanthropy, retreats, and intramural activities. An alcohol ban has also been issued for all events held by recognized student organizations.
“I want to send a serious message, I really do. We’ve got a serious problem,” Florida State University President John Thrasher said, though he didn’t state how long the suspension would last. “This pause is needed to review and reflect on the loss of a young life and to implement serious changes. For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life on campus. They must participate in that culture.”
Currently, 7,588 (22 percent) of FSU’s undergrads belong to Greek organizations. The ban includes chapters of the seven National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations on campus, including Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Phi Alpha. According to ABC News, FSU is the third university to suspend Greek life due to alcohol-related incidents in 2017. Penn State suspended fraternity and sorority social events in the spring, while Louisiana State implemented a one-month suspension and continues to ban alcohol after a hazing death in September.
Thrasher said that students who don’t comply with the terms of the suspension will be subject to “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,” he continued. “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.”