Five months ago, Florida State University’s President John Thrasher banned alcohol from all campus events. This ban came after the death of Andrew Coffey, a Florida State University Pi Kappa Phi pledge, who consumed an entire bottle of alcohol during a fraternity party. The alcohol ban was a consequence of multiple repercussions that FSU’s Greek life faced, which included restrictions on philanthropic events, socials and recruitment; most restrictions have since been lifted, and sororities and fraternities can now begin recruiting and participating in philanthropic events again.
In addition to lifting these restrictions, President Thrasher gave a press conference last week in which he announced that the five-month ban on alcohol has been lifted. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Amy Hecht, Vice President of Student Affairs, said that lifting this ban with only four weeks left in the Spring semester allows everyone a chance to assess and become familiar with the new rules while determining what still needs to be changed for the upcoming school year.
While the lifting of the ban means that alcohol can now be served at events, this does not come without additional guidelines and rules. While the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life’s website has yet to be updated, the guidelines outlined in Thrasher’s announcement are as follows:
- Chapters will be limited to four events in the fall and six events in the spring
- Events with alcohol at Greek houses will be allowed only if the chapter uses third-party vendors, provides food and has police/security approved by the FSU PD
- No person under 21 may serve, sell or consume alcohol
- Chapters will not inhibit the full participation of those who choose not to drink alcohol
- Must put in an advance notice of any planned events involving alcohol
- Completion of risk management training
Medical amnesty—which protects from liability those who seek medical attention as a result of illegal actions—is another policy that is being stressed. Students who are participating in illegal activities might hesitate to call the police if they or someone else is in danger and FSU wants students to know that they should not hesitate to call authorities when needed.
“The message is we do not want a student to not call for fear of punishment or sanction if they violated a policy or student code,” Hecht states. “A lot of the responsibility is on students now to show us they can be responsible and able to serve alcohol in a safe way.”
FSU is doing what it can to give back some of the freedoms that Greek life once held, but with the understanding that actions have consequences and that responsibility is key. As aforementioned, the rest of this semester will act similarly to a trial period for the restrictions and new guidelines imposed, with the hope that organizations and Florida State will figure out a way to maneuver this new territory. As students, we need to remain accountable and uphold FSU to the highest of regards.
President Thrasher’s full announcement can be viewed here.