TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The national office of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity has revoked the charter for its Beta Eta Chapter at Florida State University a week after a pledge died in an all-night drinking binge in an off-campus home.
A tatement by Todd Shelpon from the national office, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the decision was made on Friday after determining the chapter violated the fraternity’s social event management policies at an event on Nov. 2.
All chapter activities and operations will cease, effective immediately, as part of the decision.
The Tallahassee Police Department is investigating the circumstances surrounding the off-campus event and the death of Andrew Coffey.
Pi Kappa Phi said it continues to direct the members of the chapter to cooperate with all investigative efforts.
“Pi Kappa Phi’s board of directors determined closing the chapter is the only appropriate action,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Timmes. “The fraternity provides our students with the education, training, and mature adult guidance to make good choices and to understand the consequences of their decisions. Pi Kappa Phi holds our chapters and individual members accountable for the choices they make through our conduct process.”
“Our prayers remain with Andrew’s family and friends,” added Timmes. “We are thankful for the university’s ongoing support of the students impacted by this tragedy.”
Florida State University had already imposed an indefinite ban on all campus Greek life following the death of a 20-year-old fraternity pledge.
Coffey was found unresponsive last Friday morning by officers answering a call to a home on Buena Vista Drive.
FSU President John Thrasher also announced a ban on alcohol at events run by the school's more than 700 recognized student organizations.
“Unfortunately, we have got to take steps in a serious manner with our partners and stakeholders and students to make sure it doesn't happen again," Thrasher said. "That's my pledge to our students, to their parents and, certainly, to this community.”
In announcing the suspension, Florida State also pointed to an unrelated case in which 20-year-old Garret Marcy, a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity, was arrested on a drug-trafficking charge.
"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."
The suspension of Greek activities will prevent fraternities and sororities from such things as holding events for new members, holding council or chapter meetings, holding organized tailgates and holding socials. Students who reside in sorority and fraternity houses can continue living there for now.
Coffey was found unconscious about 10 a.m. Friday after attending an off-campus fraternity party the night before. A cause of death has not yet been released.
While there are indications alcohol may have played a role in Coffey's death, investigators are still awaiting the results of an autopsy, Tallahassee Police Chief Michael DeLeo said Monday.
DeLeo said investigators have interviewed more than 50 people, and plan to interview more people.
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.