There will be no alcoholic beverages in the president’s box at Saturday’s homecoming game at Florida State University. FSU President John Thrasher, who two weeks ago suspended fraternities and sororities indefinitely, and has prohibited alcohol at student functions, said it would have sent the wrong message if he didn’t adhere to those same limitations.
“We only have adults there over 21, but even for that we’re not going to have any alcohol in our president’s box,” he said during an interview Thursday that streamed live on Facebook and Twitter. “I don’t think I could do that given what we’ve done. I don’t think I should.”
Thrasher said he decided on the Greek life suspension following the Nov. 3 death of student Andrew Coffey. Although the police investigation is ongoing, initial results indicate alcohol may have been a factor. Coffey was a pledge at Florida State’s chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Police also recently arrested two students — both members of fraternities — on charges of selling cocaine in separate cases.
It was a conversation with Coffey’s mother on the day he died that caused Thrasher to consider taking action. By that Sunday, he had gathered staff to discuss options. He announced the decision the next day, Nov. 6.
“I felt we needed a pause,” he said. “And we needed a pause in the activities of our fraternities and sororities.”
Although most of the conversation Thursday focused on the Greek life ban and alcohol use, Thrasher did take time to express support for head football coach Jimbo Fisher despite a disappointing 3-6 record so far this season.
“Jimbo’s here forever — as long as he wants to be. He’s good,” Thrasher said.
Thrasher said the first week after the fraternity and sorority suspension was focused on reflecting on what happened, but more recently, he has begun meeting with students to get their ideas on how to move forward. He said he is looking for a change in culture, particularly when it comes to the number of student events at which alcohol is present. It’s a conversation universities are having across the nation.
“A death of a student is just unnecessary like this; it’s absolutely unnecessary,” he said. “It’s on us,” he said of administrators. Then, referring to students, he said, “It’s on them.”
Tia Mitchell: (850) 933-1321