FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (TNS) — The death of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge from Pompano Beach led Florida State University to shut down all Greek life activities Monday.
Alcohol is suspected of playing a role in the death of Andrew Coffey, whose body was found Friday — the morning after a gathering of more than 50 people at a house near campus, police said Monday.
Coffey was a civil engineering student at FSU who graduated from Pompano Beach High School in 2015.
Reacting to his death, the university on Monday indefinitely suspended all 54 fraternities and sororities, said Florida State University President John Thrasher. He also banned alcohol at student events, which includes those run by more than 700 organizations outside the Greek community, according to a news release.
"For this suspension to end, there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the university," Thrasher said. "There must be a new culture, and our students must be full participants in creating it."
Coffey was trying to become a full member of the FSU chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. The fraternity has faced disciplinary action in the past five years for hazing, alcohol violations and unspecified misconduct, according to disciplinary logs maintained by the national fraternity.
In 2012, the fraternity's national office sanctioned the chapter for hazing, and in 2014 the chapter faced university sanctions for unspecified conduct that violated university policy.
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The circumstances of Coffey's death have remained a mystery.
"Although there are indicators that alcohol may have been a factor in this case, we are waiting for the results of an autopsy so no cause of death has been determined," Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said Monday.
Police reportedly collected beer bottles from the porch as evidence.
Authorities found Coffey unresponsive at 10:23 a.m. Friday at a house about a mile from campus, Tallahassee police said.
Police said Monday they have interviewed more than 50 people and have more interviews planned.
Pi Kappa Phi's national office suspended the FSU chapter's operations following the death, said Todd Shelton, a spokesman for Pi Kappa Phi.
In 2015, the chapter had to enroll in a remedial program for an alcohol violation. But in the past year, in which the national disciplinary log recorded 60 misconduct allegations against chapters around the country, there were none involving the FSU chapter.
The fraternity's FSU chapter web, Twitter and Facebook pages have been taken down.
Coffey was a high school athlete and junior ROTC member who often smiled, said George Edmunds, a friend and fellow FSU student.
FSU Vice President for Student Affairs Amy Hecht said her division will create new rules in the coming weeks "to ensure the future of fraternity and sorority life."
As part of Thrasher's announcement to suspend Greek life, he also cited an unrelated case Monday in which a 20-year-old member of another fraternity was arrested on cocaine-trafficking charges.
© 2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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