Alcohol-related tragedies continue to haunt Greek life in 2017

By Caitlyn Morral on November 10, 2017

This week, the student-run University of Michigan Interfraternity Council suspended all Greek life social functions in the wake of with multiple sexual assault allegations, hazing incidents and wild parties.

The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house, Florida State University.

Earlier this month, the unresponsive body of 20-year-old Andrew Coffey, a student at Florida State University, was found the morning after a Thursday night party at a house located off of the FSU campus. Coffey was a pledge at Pi Kappa Phi.

Over the course the next few days, FSU officials made a decision to suspend Greek life on campus. The Tallahassee campus joined a growing list of schools who have made the decision to suspend Greek life at their universities in the wake of fatal Greek-life related incidents.

Tim Piazza was a nineteen-year old sophomore at Pennsylvania State University. The engineering student pledged the fraternity Beta Theta Pi and was enduring hazing rituals with the rest of the pledges when he became too intoxicated from several “games” and fell down a flight of basement steps in the house.

Members of the fraternity failed to immediately call for medical assistance and when they finally did call for help, it was too late. Piazza died from his injuries the next day.

Eighteen-year old Louisiana State University student Maxwell Gruver was a Phi Delta Theta pledge who was found unresponsive at the fraternity’s house. Gruver was instructed to play a “game” by older Phi Delta Theta members that had rules including drinking a 190-proof vodka for three to five seconds if they guessed an answer wrong.

A person’s blood alcohol content level becomes life-threatening if it becomes higher than 0.31. Gruver’s blood alcohol content upon his autopsy was measured at 0.495. The freshman’s official cause of death was of asphyxiation and alcohol poisoning.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 1,825 college students die from inadvertent alcohol-related incidents between the ages of 18 and 25. In this same study, it was found that alcohol consumption is generally the highest when it comes to students who live in either a fraternity or a sorority.

In 2015, University of Michigan Mark Schlissel told the Detroit Free Press that, “(if) the students moderate some of the risky behavior … they may naturally wither and people may want to stop joining them. There is a culture problem not only among students of Greek life but significantly inside of Greek life having to do with the overuse of alcohol, which really does need to be moderated.”

The events of 2017 (so far) indicate that a turning point may be coming for fraternities, sororities and alcohol.

By Caitlyn Morral

Uloop Writer
Senior at St. Bonaventure University with a passion for writing and an endearment toward thunderstorms.

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