On Wednesday, September 13, 2017, LSU lost a student, the Gruver family lost a son, many lost a friend, but the Louisiana State University Phi Delta Theta chapter didn't lose a brother — they were charged in connection to his death. With that being said, we should have learned a lesson and by we, I mean Greek affiliated members across the nation, but apparently, we didn't.
On November 3, 2017, at about 10:30 in the morning, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge was found unconscious about a mile away from campus. No one searched for him on Thursday night, no one realized he was missing. That is ridiculous. Andrew Coffey is another victim of negligence and ignorance, and it's about time that we get educated on alcohol consumption.
Coffey, raised in south Florida, was a 20-year-old Florida State University student whose life was taken from him far too early. He decided to pledge Pi Kappa Phi, but little did he know it would be one of the last things he would ever decide to do. His family and friends didn't get to say goodbye.
They expected to see and talk to him on Friday just as they did every day, they expected everything to be like normal, to wake up and go on with their days. Coffey expected to wake up on Friday, go to his classes and go to the football game on Saturday. He got all of that ripped away from him at the young age of 20. Max Gruver expected to do the same back in September.
Neither of the young men expected college to be their last experience. We shouldn't know either of their names because neither situation should have happened.
Following Coffey's death, Florida State University President John Thrasher announced the ban on all Greek organizations. Thrasher recognized the problem and did what he thought would be the best solution. Thrasher shouldn't have had to do this, but it seems to be the only plausible solution. It seems no one learned anything from Gruver's passing.
College students aren't being taught signs of alcohol poisoning, we are being trusted to know our limits right off the bat when in reality, college is the first time most of us drink or at least drink regularly. This would be OK if we were being taught how to watch for signs of alcohol poisoning. It’s become a contest between students to see who can drink more and that’s such a dangerous game. It’s a game that some might say is just as dangerous as Russian roulette.
Signs of alcohol poisoning:
· Slow breathing
· Pale/blue-tinged skin
· Low body temperature
Above are just a few signs of alcohol poisoning, but when a majority of young college students see these signs, we pass it off by saying, “Oh she/he is just too drunk, just don’t let them drink anything else” or worse, we get them to drink more, especially when it comes to the vomiting.
The phrase “puke and rally” has become one that is often used by college-aged students because we would rather keep going than stopping. We haven’t stopped to think that our bodies are telling us to stop. We’re ignoring it because we don’t want to stop having “fun.” I say that in quotations because drinking until we puke has become the ideal form of fun in college and that’s a problem.
Florida State shouldn’t have to ban Greek life to get the point across. No school should.
But it seems that that is the only solution at this moment in time. The ban is the only way to get people to wake up and realize that there is a problem and it needs a solution. President Thrasher popped the bubble we’ve all been living in. He stated the problem and he stated his solution. As harsh as it sounds it was more than necessary.
Being a member of the Greek community used to be something that was praised, it was an honor and a privilege but due to recent events, it’s becoming taboo.
It is something that people are ashamed of being because no one wants to be associated with an organization that tries to erase problems rather than fixing them. Parents don’t want to spend the money for their kids to be a part of an organization that has been in the headlines of newspapers and programs for negative reasons. This is coming from someone who is a current member of a Greek community.
So to the thousands of Greek communities across the nation, please teach your members the signs of alcohol poisoning. Teach them to call for help if you notice someone in distress rather than just letting them lie there. Every minute that someone is unconscious counts. Every second that goes by is another second closer to potential death.
To the parents and guardians of teenagers and young adults, please teach your kids that they shouldn’t be afraid to call 911 if they think someone is in danger. It’s better to get a ticket for underage drinking than the possibility of death or permeant damage.
To the parents of kids who within Greek communities, please remind them that it’s OK to walk away from an organization that is causing potential harm.
With that being said, please also remember that not all Greek organizations/communities are like FSU and LSU. Going Greek can be such an amazing thing, it’s something you should be proud to be a part of. It’s an honor and a privilege as long as it’s continuing to be a safe environment.
Hopefully, the ban on Greek life at FSU has taught us a few things.
Because if it hasn’t, I really don’t know what would.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Coffey and Gruver families.
Fly high Max and Andrew.