Florida State University Pledge’s Death Sparks Investigation, Suspension of Fraternity

Florida State University Pledge’s Death Sparks Investigation, Suspension of Fraternity

Andrew Coffey, a Florida State University Student and Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Pledge, Was Found Dead Friday Morning After Fraternity Party.

The death of a Andrew Coffey at Florida State University has sparked a police investigation and the suspension of the national Pi Kappa Phi fraternal organization’s local chapter, Beta Eta, officials said.

With any devastating circumstance, questions mount – how does a community prevent future tragedies and who should be held responsible?

The student, 20-year-old Andrew Coffey, was found Friday morning around 10:23 a.m. ET after the Tallahassee Police Department received a call about an unresponsive person at a home on Buena Vista Drive.

Coffey was pronounced dead at the scene, and an investigation into his death is ongoing, police said.

Douglas Fierberg – a nationally acclaimed wrongful death attorney representing clients who have sued universities, national fraternities and local chapter members for alcohol-related student deaths – cautions:  

“Even if a party is held at an off-campus fraternity house, the hosts and the organization may still be liable. These organizations need to be rendered safe, there is no excuse for not intervening.”

Fierberg was featured on CNN to discuss the perils of fraternity hazing violence and death:

“The dangers of fraternities are not myths. They are reality. The failure by universities to tell the truth about the risks facing students in fraternities specifically related to hazing misuse and abuse of alcohol and other misconduct is the new battleground.” Fierberg tells CNN. “It needs to be changed nationally, because parents and students are entitled to timely and accurate information about the risks they face.  And universities have no basis, morally or legally, to withhold that information from the university community.”

Fierberg said universities violate their duties to students and parents when they create websites about Greek life and only include feel-good information, instead of an accurate and complete picture:

“[Universities] won’t give you the full information because it will confirm that what you believe is right. Of course you have a zero tolerance policy. [Hazing is] illegal. … But why wouldn’t you tell parents it’s still going on?”

Having represented victims of similar tragedies associated with fraternities, our hope is that the Coffey family finds answers related to how this terrible loss transpired.

Our thoughts are with Andrew’s family and community during this extremely difficult time.

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