Hazing News

Florida State 911 call: They tried to cover their butts before trying to save Andrew’s life.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Newly released 911 calls capture the desperate scene as Florida State Universityfraternity brothers struggled to revive a pledge who died of alcohol poisoning in November.

Police said Andrew Coffey, 20, a junior from Pompano Beach, died of alcohol poisoning after attending at Pi Kappa Phi party.

“So there we had a party last night and my friend passed out on the couch on his side. His lips are purple, his body is extremely stiff, and I can’t wake him up,” the caller told the dispatcher. “And honestly, I don’t feel a pulse.”

The dispatcher instructs the caller to perform chest compressions on Coffey, urging him to count with her as ambulances raced to the fraternity house.

“We’re going to do this until help can take it over. I need you to count out loud so I can count with you,” the dispatcher said.

Nine men are facing hazing charges in connection with the death.

A Leon County grand jury last month said that it saw enough evidence for criminal charges but that the investigation was not complete. It left the decision about charges up to the state attorney’s office or a future grand jury.

According to grand jury testimony, a fellow FSU fraternity pledge found Coffey unresponsive at the party, but instead of calling immediately 911, the pledge contacted other members of the fraternity.

“The brothers, pledges, and officers were more concerned about getting in trouble than they were about trying to save Coffey’s life,” the grand jury said.

After Coffey’s death, FSU President John Thrasher suspended all Greek life and banned alcohol at all recognized student organization events. Pi Kappa Phi’s national office has closed the FSU chapter. This week, Thrasher reinstated Greek life on campus although a ban on alcohol remains in effect.

The grand jury did find that although Coffey’s alcohol consumption was not physically forced, an environment of hazing existed that culminated in his death. The fraternity’s “Big Brother Night” party, which was held at an off-campus home, encouraged binge drinking.

By Hank Nuwer

Journalist Hank Nuwer is the Alaska author of Hazing: Destroying Young Lives; Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His current book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press. He is married to Malgorzata Wroblewska Nuwer of Warsaw, Poland and Fairbanks, Alaska. Nuwer is a former columnist for the Greenville (Ohio)Early Bird and former managing editor of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Alaska.
Nuwer was named the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists columnist of the year in 2021 for his “After Darke” column in the Early Bird. He also won third place for the column in 2022 from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He and his wife Gosia, recently of Union City, Ind., have owned 20 acres in Alaska for many years. “The move is a sort-of coming home for us,” said Nuwer. As a journalist, he’s written about the Alaskan Iditarod sled-dog race and other Alaska topics. Read his musings in his blog at Real Alaska Daily-- and in his weekly column "Far from Randolph" in the Winchester Star-Gazette of Randolph County, Indiana.

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