TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis signed “Andrew’s Law,” strengthening Florida’s existing anti-hazing statute.
The new law toughens Florida’s existing hazing statute in a number of ways. Now, fraternity and sorority leaders who plan the hazing event, but do not personally attend the event, will be criminally liable when someone is seriously hurt or killed. It also provides that the first person who calls 911 to summon help for a hazing victim and anyone administering aid to the victim while waiting for help to arrive will not be prosecuted under the hazing statute.
Andrew’s Law is named for Andrew Coffey, a junior at Florida State University who died during a Pi Kappa Phi event in November 2017. As a pledge, Andrew was subjected to a tradition called “the family bottle” which required him to drink an entire bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon. Coffey later became extremely sick and intoxicated and was then moved to a couch where his fraternity brothers hoped he would sleep it off, but no one called for help. When they checked in on him the next morning, he was dead.
“If one of the kids from the party that night—there were 90 kids there—if just one of them would have picked up the phone when they saw that Andrew needed some help, he’d still be here,” Andrew’s mother Sandy said to lawmakers during hearings on the bill. The Coffey family had been vocal proponents of the new legislation.
“Our son’s death has resulted in a new law that will hopefully save other families from a similar tragedy,” the Coffeys said.