by Sami Linden
Beginning on Nov. 6, Florida State University (FSU) indefinitely suspended all sorority and fraternity activities on campus. John Thrasher, the president of the university, issued the ban in response to two incidents on campus, including the death of a pledge and the arrest of a fraternity member. The university, with a total of 41,000 students, is home to 54 fraternities and sororities, and Greek life is a major part of the student community. Thrasher did not release a time frame of when he plans to end the suspension.
The suspension followed the death of 20-year-old Pi Kappa Phi pledge Andrew Coffey. Coffey recently transferred to the school and attended a fraternity party on Nov. 3. Later that night, authorities found Coffey unresponsive, and he passed away during the following hours. The Tallahassee Police Department stated that alcohol poisoning may have been involved in his death, but they will not confirm this until they receive a full autopsy report.
Earlier in the week, FSU campus police arrested 20-year-old Garrett John Marcy, a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, charging him with trafficking and selling cocaine. The police are holding Marcy in Leon County Jail and have set his bail at 75,000 dollars.
The suspension restricts all Greek life activities, which angered many students as they were in the middle of preparing for their homecoming. Neither sororities nor fraternities are allowed to host or take part in social events, philanthropy, chapter meetings, or elections. Chapters are allowed to take in new members after meeting with the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life for approval. They also can have meetings with the university or national chapter if these meetings are not associated with any social activities. President Thrasher also added that the failure to follow these rules would result in immediate disciplinary action.
FSU is not the only school that has banned sorority and fraternity activities. In February, Pennsylvania State University temporarily banned alcohol from all Greek parties after the death of a 19-year-old pledge. In addition, Louisiana State University banned all Greek life activities for a week during September after one of its pledges passed away. In 2014, Clemson University also temporarily suspended its sororities and fraternities after a pledge tragically fell to his death during a fraternity hazing event.
The university hopes that the suspension will help teach chapter members that the culture surrounding Greek life needs to change and that the extreme parties and hazing should not be considered “normal.” Thrasher hopes to put an end to these problems and change the way students handle social events, but he believes these issues cannot be resolved unless students also take part in the change.
(Sources: CNN, NYTimes, ABC News, Jezebel, Florida State University)
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