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New Hazing Law Aims to Incentivize Reporting Incidents

March 20th, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

Fraternity members who haze one another would have an incentive to call for emergency help under legislation filed in response to an FSU student’s death in November 2017.

The parents and others believe their son would have lived if an immunity provision was law at the time.

Fraternity Pledge Andrew Coffey was forced to drink an entire bottle of Wild Turkey before passing out on a couch in this off campus house.

Instead of calling for help, fraternity members left for hours before returning to find him dead.

Even then they hesitated to call 9-1-1.

“It is written to save someone’s life,” said Representative Chip LaMarca, who is sponsoring new legislation the would provide immunity to the first person who calls for help in a case of a hazing incident.

LaMarca filed the bill in response to Coffey’s death. When asked if he believed it would have saved the student’s life he responded, “Absolutely, 100 percent.”

State Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith says students also came to him.

“And they want to make sure that if they call 9-1-1 for assistance that the student is not going to get in trouble for trying to help another student. Maybe the reality is that they were under age drinking. Maybe they were doing illegal drugs,” said Smith.

Florida is one of only ten states that doesn’t provide immunity to the first one who calls.

17 months after the death of their son, the Coffey family is still visibly shaken.

“We’d like to ask you to pay very close attention to this bill. That you enhance it…and make it so this never happens again,” said Andrew’s father, Tom Coffey

The legislation also expands the law to allow fraternity leadership who help plan a hazing, but aren’t there to be charged with the crime.

Nine were charged in the hazing death of Andrew Coffey.

The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity was closed, and FSU instituted tough new standards for Greek life on campus.

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