Five months after the alcohol poisoning death of Andrew Coffey, five Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers were finally back in court to accept plea deals, avoiding a trial and felony charge. Charged with hazing, the men entered guilty pleas on Monday in connection with the death of the 20-year-old Florida State University student.
In the wake of the tragedy, the school with more than 41,000 students, suspended all Greek activities on campus and Pi Kappa Phi’s national office said it would close its FSU chapter.
Four of the five men who pleaded guilty — Kyle Bauer, Brett Birmingham, Christopher Hamlin and John Ray — were sentenced to 60 days in jail each. Conner Ravelo, who was Coffey’s “big brother” in the fraternity, was the only member who issued an apology to the grieving parents; he received 30 days in jail.
The men, all in their early 20’s, will be on probation for the next two years, which requires them to attend anti-hazing classes, write an apology letter to the Coffey family and speak about hazing when asked. They must also stay away from alcohol and submit to random drug tests.
In part of his emotional speech to Coffey’s family, Ravelo said, “I can make a promise to you that moving forward I will be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
Nine fraternity members were charged in the case. The four men who did not plead guilty on Monday are scheduled to go on trial for felony hazing charges in June.
November 6, 2017
John Thrasher, President of Florida State University, has suspended all Greek life activities after the death of a 20-year-old student.
Andrew Coffey, was discovered unresponsive Friday morning following a house party near campus. The student was a Pi Kappa Phi fraternity pledge and despite receiving medical treatment, died on the scene.
Thrasher’s decision to suspend all Greek activities including fraternities and sororities is intended to send a strong message.
“WE’VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM.”
On Monday, just as FSU was beginning “Parents’ Weekend”, a separate case led to the arrest of Garret John Marcy for trafficking cocaine. Marcy, 20, belongs t the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
The campus is filled with visiting perspective students and parents wanting to learn about the programs and lifestyle of FSU students.
In addition to indefinitely closing the fraternities and sororities, Thrasher has banned all alcohol at student organization functions, more than 700 events in total.
The University’s press release stated, in part: “FSU has received national recognition for its innovative programs designed to curb high-risk behaviors. These model programs are emulated by other universities and aggressively encourage students to report incidents they think might be hazing. The university has dozens of programs that work with Greek organizations to educate them on the values they are expected to reflect, providing tools and resources to assist student leaders and advisors in effectively managing their organizations.”
Working with the Division of Student Affairs, students will create and set in place new measures in collaboration with other stakeholder groups, according to Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht.
The University wants the entire Greek lifestyle re-invented before they will reinstate the fraternities and sororities. During the suspension, students will be allowed to remain in their Greek Houses and retain meal service.
Greek residents can attend judicial and conduct hearings, leadership classes, and risk management/education workshops offered by the university.
There is no set timetable for lifting the suspension. Thrasher stresses that the reinstatement is up to the student community.
“THEY HAVE TO EXERCISE RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT,”
Throughout the suspension the fraternities and sororities will be prohibited from:
- holding new member events
- council or chapter meetings
- chapter-organized tailgates
- chapter events such as socials
- philanthropy, retreats, intramurals
- organized participation in Market Wednesday
- organized participation in Homecoming