Florida State University has indefinitely suspended its fraternities and sororities after the alcohol-related death of a freshman pledge and cocaine charges for a member of another fraternity.
University President John Thrasher made the announcement on Monday.
Andrew Coffey, a pledge at Pi Kappa Phi, died Friday after he was found unresponsive following a party. On Monday, 20-year-old Garrett John Marcy, a member of Phi Delta Theta, was charged with the sale and trafficking of cocaine.
Marshall University in Huntington, WV has 20 organizations in its Sorority and Fraternity Life program. Student Body President and fraternity member Matt Jarvis was surprised by the move by FSU, but says the gravity of the situation cannot be ignored.
“I think any time you see something that results in a death or any type of harm it does make you stop and kind of take a pulse check,” Jarvis said.
Marshall has not had any major incidents in fraternities or sororities in years.
Greek life Grad assistant Meena Elango says a big part of that is the communication between Greek Life and faculty, and efforts to teach students about the dangers of risky activities.
“Whether it’s training on sexual assault, or alcohol abuse, or it’s training on just how to be a college student, we have well-rounded programs here,” Elango said.
Greek Life leaders at Marshall say a tragedy like a student death can provide a teachable moment for young fraternity members about the dangers of drinking.
“When you make adult decisions there are adult consequences, and that’s a very scary reality to a lot of people.” Jarvis said. “It’s unfortunate it takes an example like this to wake people up to that.”
Greek Life members at Marshall also hope that people don’t judge their organizations by the poor decisions of other fraternities. Marshall University has a zero tolerance policy for hazing, and has punished organizations for violations in the past.