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Florida grand jury investigates FSU frat pledge’s death

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — More than 50 Florida State University fraternity members and administrators testified before a grand jury on Monday as it meets to consider filing charges in last month’s death of a fraternity pledge.

The Leon County grand jury on Monday began two days of interviews with Florida State administrators and those who were at a party with Andrew Coffey, who died after attending an off-campus party.

Coffey was a junior and a pledge at Pi Kappa Phi. He died Nov. 3 after he was found unresponsive after a party. Florida State University President John Thrasher responded three days later by indefinitely suspending its fraternities and sororities.

Thrasher and Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht testified in the morning. Thrasher said last week that he hasn’t decided when the suspension would be lifted. Florida State has concluded classes for the Fall Semester. Spring Semester classes will begin on Jan. 8.

Pi Kappa Phi closed the Florida State chapter shortly after Coffey’s death.

Fraternity members started testifying in the afternoon and were called three at a time. They waited in adjacent courtrooms with their attorneys before being called to testify.

Tallahassee Police said there were indications alcohol was involved in Coffey’s death. The state Medical Examiner hasn’t released its report.

Penn State and Louisiana State universities also suspended Greek activities earlier this year due to student deaths, but Florida State’s move triggered a bigger impact nationally. Since Florida State’s announcement, Texas State, Ohio State and Michigan have also issued suspensions of Greek activities either due to a student’s death or incidents involving fraternities and sororities.

During the suspension, the only events Greek life members can conduct are meetings with the university or their national chapter. Students are allowed to remain as residents in their fraternity or sorority houses. Thrasher also banned alcohol at all student organization events during the suspension.

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