Thrasher considers Code of Conduct reform following Andrew Coffey’s death
The grand jury suggested students need to be forced into accountability
Florida State University is open to making changes to its student Code of Conduct following the Leon County grand jury's suggestion that it should include a requirement to cooperate in investigations. The recommendation was made in an effort to help complete an investigation into the death of FSU pledge Andrew Coffey.
An investigator for TPD recently stated that 22 out of the 38 members of Pi Kappa Phi, 19 out of the 41 pledges, and seven out of nine members of the executive council refused to be interviewed. This is ultimately the reason the grand jury convened. Left with only four fraternity members and 38 pledges to question, the jury felt that the statements had been rehearsed and overlapped with one another and that the brothers gave off a "glib" demeanor during proceedings, and were accused of remaining loyal to "a culture of secrecy."
These "elements of conspiracy and obstruction," as they have been called, have led FSU President John Thrasher and VP of Student Affairs Amy Hect to consider the amendment. Both university officials have previously discussed their displeasure with the lack of cooperation of Pi Kappa Phi members.
The grand jury also determined that criminal charges are warranted in the death of Andrew Coffey, but the investigation has not yet been completed.
Coffey was found with a blood alcohol level of .447 at the time of his autopsy, and while the investigation has concluded he was not forced to drink by others at the party, he was supplied with a bottle of Wild Turkey 101 and was encouraged to drink it straight from the bottle.
The grand jury also discussed the fact that the member who found Coffey unresponsive spent 11 minutes texting and calling other Pi Kappa Phi members before finally calling the police. These examples are apparently what lead them to conclude that not only is there an obvious environment of hazing within the fraternity, but that the culture surrounding Greek life also needs to be changed.
Other suggestions were given by the grand jury, such as "community score cards" to measure the successes and failures of individual fraternities, and denote grade point averages, service hours, and all incidents either on or off campus.
Coffey's mother is the most openly critical of the fraternity members refusal to comply with investigators, calling out the hypocrisy of the fraternity, writing
The Pi Kappa Phi creed uses words like loyalty, responsibility, standards, conduct, easy words to put down on paper. Obviously more difficult to live by.
Even as we are heartbroken, we are also troubled, troubled our son died alone in a room full of people. Troubled that no one stood up and said ‘stop’, ‘no’, ‘enough.’ Troubled that a group of young people saw someone in crisis and didn’t act. And troubled that this continues to happen again and again.
The Coffey's also previously thanked first responders to their son, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, and TPD. They were especially grateful to President Thrasher for the suspension of Greek life.
According to State Attorney Jack Campbell, the jury is set to convene again in January.