Florida State University suspended all of its fraternities and sororities Monday after a student died at an off-campus party and, in a separate incident, another student was arrested on drug-related charges.
The suspension terms include fraternity and sororities being unable to hold events to recruit new members, council or chapter meetings and other chapter-organized events, according to a news release from FSU. Members will be able to remain residents of their organization’s house and have meal service. In addition to suspending Greek life indefinitely, FSU President John Thrasher announced an alcohol ban at all events held by the university’s student organizations.
“For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek Life at the university,” Thrasher said in a news release. “There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it.”
When asked if UF has a similar plan for its Greek life, UF spokesperson Janine Sikes said she was unsure.
“Who knows,” Sikes said. “The bottom line is we need to check in with Student Affairs.”
Garrett J. Marcy, a 20-year-old member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at FSU, was arrested Monday for the sale and trafficking of cocaine after FSU police officers searched his apartment.
Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old pledge of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at FSU, died Friday morning after first responders found him unresponsive and were unable to revive him. Although the details of his death are still unknown, investigators collected liquor bottles from the house porch as evidence, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
When reached for comment Monday afternoon, Todd Shelton, the assistant executive director of communication for Pi Kappa Phi, said in an emailed statement that the Beta Eta Chapter at FSU suspended all operations. He said national leaders told all FSU chapter members to cooperate with their university’s investigation.
UF’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
In an email statement Monday night, Sikes said the UF administration was saddened to hear about Coffey’s death.
“We respect and commend President Thrasher’s decision to do everything in his power to prevent another student death,” Sikes wrote.
Thrasher said in his news release that FSU is trying to mitigate “high-risk behaviors” through university programs which encourage students to report hazing. They’re also trying to educate students on substance abuse.
“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.
Sikes said she thinks binge drinking is generally the cause of issues on college campuses, and UF has worked to address that in the past 10 years.
When Bernie Machen served as UF’s president from 2004 to 2014, a series of deaths all related to alcohol struck the university, Sikes said. She said Machen took a strong stance against alcohol abuse, but she is unaware if he ever considered suspending Greek organizations.
She said UF President Kent Fuchs has furthered Machen’s initiatives, such as the Community Alcohol Coalition, which holds periodic meetings with Fuchs, local bar owners, beer distributors and others to discuss ways to end binge drinking and underage drinking.
“Alcohol use and abuse on college campuses around the country, and in Gainesville, has taken far too many lives,” Sikes wrote in an email. “There is still work to do, and we will continue to focus on this issue.”