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Florida State University Suspends Fraternities and Sororities Indefinitely After Student Death

Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Florida State University president John Thrasher announced on Monday that all of the school’s fraternities and sororities have been suspended indefinitely, the Washington Post reports. The restrictions are comprehensive; they forbid fraternities and sororities from indulging in intramural activities, parties, tailgating, and homecoming events, the New York Times reports.

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The decision to suspend campus Greek life came after the death of a student pledge on Friday (he died after attending a Pi Kappa Phi party, possibly from alcohol poisoning, according to the Tallahassee Police Department), and the separate, unrelated arrest of a fraternity brother on cocaine trafficking charges this Monday, according to the Times.

“For this suspension to end,” Thrasher wrote in a news release on the school’s website, “there will need to be a new normal for Greek life at the university. There must be a new culture, and our students but be full participants in creating it.”

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FSU is attended by 41,000 students and hosts 55 fraternities and sororities.

The Times notes that FSU is not the first school to adopt such a measure in an effort to change the culture of Greek life. After the death of a 19-year-old Penn State University student in February, the university temporarily banned alcohol from sorority and fraternity parties. And the death of a Louisiana State University fraternity pledge in September resulted in the freezing of Greek life activities for a week.

At a news conference on Monday, Thrasher said that reviewing the steps other academic institutions had taken to curb fraternity violence had encouraged him to go forward with the suspension. “I want to send a serious message, I really do,” he said. “We’ve got a serious problem.”

contributing writer, nights

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DISCUSSION

Why not make this suspension permanent, and, in fact, universal to all sororities and fraternities? Between hazing deaths, extreme and fatal inebriation; sexual violence; racial discrimination; and widespread misogyny, these houses have proved their recklessness and irresponsibility, manifold.

There are those who insist that the Greek system taught them values, ethics and the importance of community service, and that’s fine. Why should parties play any role in this, then? I’m actually trying to find a better word than ‘party’ which suggests something festive. These gatherings are far darker rituals of malfeasance.

The price that both parents and students have paid is already too high.

They aren’t odd and unconnected incidents; they form a part of the entire ‘culture.’