Attorney David Bianchi was recently invited to be a guest speaker during Florida State University’s 2018 Hazing Prevention Week. Mr. Bianchi gave the keynote speech on the legal implications of hazing. Currently, Mr. Bianchi and the team from Stewart Tilghman Fox Bianchi & Cain, P.A. are representing the family of two FSU students who were victims of hazing. Andrew Coffey was killed last November from alcohol poisoning while pledging Pi Kappa Phi. In response to Coffey’s death, Florida State President John Thrasher suspended all Greek life activities on campus. Shortly after the suspension was lifted, Nicholas Mauricio suffered serious brain injuries after he was struck in the face during Alpha Epsilon Pi’s annual “Scumbag of the Week” tradition.
Working to Prevent Future Hazing Incidents
Florida State University invited Mr. Bianchi to speak to fraternity and sorority leaders in an effort to stop hazing on university campuses. "The school can't be everywhere at one time, the school police can't be everywhere at one time, so we have to rely on folks like you who get it, who care enough to show up at something like this and to stop it when they see it about to happen," WTXL quoted Mr. Bianchi as saying. By encouraging a culture of accountability, Mr. Bianchi is hoping to help eliminate dangerous hazing practices.
However, efforts to stop hazing are not stopping there.
Florida State University President John Thrasher and Mr. Bianchi met to discuss how they can work together to combat hazing. One of the things they agreed to do was to collaborate on a bill to improve Florida’s existing hazing statute that would expand the scope of who may be found guilty of hazing and include a medical amnesty provision that will incentivize those who witness a hazing incident to call 911 when an individual requires medical attention. Mr. Bianchi and President Thrasher are hoping that the legislation will be introduced during the next session of the Florida Legislature.
There Is No Benefit for Those Who Practice Hazing
In his presentation, Mr. Bianchi reminded them of the futile nature of hazing.
“There is no good outcome for anyone who hazes,” he told the group. “You can kill someone or seriously injure them. You can go to jail, get sued civilly, face a very large monetary judgment, get expelled from school and have the stories about what you did live forever on the web.” Mr. Bianchi wants student leadership to know that they are accountable for the actions of members of their Greek life houses and hazing must be stopped.
To learn more, read the WTXL articleand Tallahassee Democrat articleabout these anti-hazing efforts.