Southern University Suspends All Fraternities, Sororities After Student Unexpectedly Dies

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November 07, 2017Nov 07, 2017

NBC News reports that Florida State University had suspended all fraternities and sororities. The ban includes all new member events, council and chapter meetings, tailgates, and other social events at the university. This action comes in response to the death of 20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a fraternity pledge who attended a party.

Coffey was trying to join Pi Kappa Phi, but was found dead on Friday morning after attending a party the night before. Coffey was a junior who had transferred to FSU this semester. Police claim that alcohol may have been involved in the case, but police are still waiting on the results of an autopsy to decide the ultimate cause of death.

Many students have been interviewed as part of the investigation into the young man's death. Police are also working with the state attorney's office in order to determine what charges are appropriate and who they should be aimed against.

It is unclear how long the suspension of Greek Life at Florida State University is expected to last. But in order for the suspension to end, there would need to be a new normal for Greek Life at the university. According to the president of the university, there must be a "new culture" and the students would need to be full participants in creating it.

"For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek Life at the university," he said, according to CNN. "There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it."

"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 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."

"I want to send a message that we've got a serious problem and we need to deal with it, and they're part of the solution," he continued. "And the sooner they can come to the table and we can all talk and find those solutions, the sooner this will be lifted."

CNN writes that this isn't the first time that a pledge has died as a result of hazing or binge-drinking incidents in recent years. At Penn State, sophomore Tim Piazza, 19, died following his first night pledging a fraternity. In 2014, a 19-year-old fraternity pledge fell to his death after being forced to walk along a narrow bridge. 

On top of banning the activities of fraternities and sororities, the school's president also banned alcohol at all events officially recognized by student organizations — of which there are over 700. Despite the ban, however, all members of fraternities and sororities will be allowed to remain in their houses.

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