It still is unclear whether alcohol contributed to UCF freshman Ann Hefferin’s death, or even had anything to do it with it, but one thing is for certain — alcohol abuse on UCF’s campus has become a major issue everyone needs to face.

When I first got into journalism, I was excited to dig into investigative journalism and work through different public information officers and sources to get the truth for the students. Unfortunately, I went on to find out that those aren’t always the stories I would get to report.

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There is nothing worse for me than to have to write about someone young dying. Especially when alcohol may have been involved, and in some cases, the death could have been avoided, like in a DUI crash.

Whether it be the recent death of John Grosso, who we later learned was over the legal limit, or even Chelsea Torres, who died in an accident on her 21st birthday in a wrong-way crash, these accidents could have been avoided.

I applaud UCF for requiring new students to take a course on alcohol education, but in all honesty it’s not enough — just like the task forces of police that raid bars aren’t enough. As students, we need to look out for each other. The students are going to be the ones to solve this problem, not the administration or the police forces.

At the same time, the recent action to suspend all “wet events” by the UCF Greek Council is one of the worst decisions anyone could make. This wont stop people from drinking, it’ll stop fraternities and sororities from registering their events with alcohol. That means instead of having all the tough measures about security, and steps to check ID’s to prevent underage drinking, there will be more under-the-UCF-radar house parties and pre-games, where underage drinkers will have an easier time getting to alcohol.

Remember when US government officials tried prohibition in the 1920’s? How did that work out for them?


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When I say this falls on the students, I mean it’s time for us to accept personal responsibility for what we do and look out for our friends. It’s easy to tell when someone has had one too many to drink, and the goal of the night shouldn’t be to black out — instead it should be to have a good time and get home safely. Communicate with each other and make sure your friend doesn’t drink too much or drink and get behind a wheel. And you certainly shouldn’t encourage others to keep drinking when they’re already drunk.

We all think that something so tragic can’t happen to us, until it’s too late.

I also want to make another thing clear: Medical Amnesty can save lives and it’s a shame that the University of Florida has it, but the state’s largest university here in Orlando doesn’t.

The University of Florida describes its Medical Amnesty Policy as this: “The Medical Amnesty Policy is designed to encourage students to make responsible decisions and seek prompt, professional, medical assistance and treatment in serious or life-threatening situations that result from alcohol and/or other drug abuse such as alcohol poisoning or drug overdose. MAP seeks to diminish fear of disciplinary and conduct sanctions in such situations and to encourage individuals and organizations to seek needed medical attention for students in distress from alcohol and drug use.”

Medical Amnesty would help make it easy for students to call 911 when their friends have too much to drink, or may take an illegal substance, instead of putting off the potentially life-saving call because they’re afraid of the consequences their friends may face for it. We should remove the obstacles that get in the way of saving lives like others in the state, because nothing is more valuable than life.

To sum it all up, in this journalist’s opinion, Student Government officials should work with the Golden Rule Review Committee and Vice President of Student Development and Enrollment Services Maribeth Ehasz to catch up with other state universities and enact a Medical Amnesty Policy. Greek Council should end its ban of all safely organized and registered “wet events,” and students should learn from the tragedies of the past to help solve this major issue affecting universities across the nation.

Although we don’t know whether Ann had too much to drink that night or not, we know her death has caused our campus to reconsider how we deal with the college drinking problem faced across the country. We owe it to Ann to make the right changes, in our personal choices and at the university-level. Changing policies to make the UCF drinking situation even more dangerous than it is only makes this tragic situation worse. But enacting Medical Amnesty to truly make students safer, will help Ann’s impact on UCF last forever, even though her time on campus was much too short.

It’s time we all stand up and do the right thing — in honor of Ann.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Medical Amnesty wont teach students to accept the consequences of abusing substances, illegal or not. If you or a friend is in a life or death situation, why would you ever be worried about getting in trouble. Honor Ann’s death by coming down hard on those responsible and use UCF’s and the Greeks names to help spread the message: you will suffer the consequences

  2. “This wont stop people from drinking, it’ll stop fraternities and sororities from registering their events with alcohol.”

    Exactly. Pushing the rule through that fraternities cannot have wet socials anymore is the stupidest way for UCF to go about this. By not letting them drink at the social it just means they will drink more before hand so that they are drunk at the event. If you know anything about greek socials is that they pregame before hand already so that they keep their buzz until they get to where they are going(also helps on saving money).

    I am amazed at UCF’s ignorance and they should of actually talked with the greeks before doing this and making it unsafe. Kids are going to be getting on the busses already blacked out before they go out and drink…..congrats UCF you signed a few more death certificates.

  3. This editorial is perfectly written. I don’t know what a couple of these people are talking about. Someone had to break this story.

  4. I agree with “are you guys really that dumb”, this story should not have focused on the keywords “fraternity” and “alcohol”. The statements and reports from the police say Ann didn’t drink that much, was walking fine, and even ate food before going to sleep. As they said, alcohol is a depressant and should not have made her heart speed up. I’ve seen alcohol poisoning and you KNOW when it’s happening. The person is beyond tolerance and can barely, if even, function. This girl was at that party for barely an hour. This had to have something to do with the undisclosed medication. This could have very well been that she was on a dose and then combined it with alcohol, not knowing they shouldn’t be mixed. Yes, alcohol could have been a part of it, but don’t make it seem like this girl drank herself to death, it’s disrespectful to her memory and her family. The reports show she did almost everything right, didn’t drink too much and ate a good amount of food before going to sleep. Sigma Chi did break university policy by having alcohol at their house, there is no denying that and they should face university verdict on THAT, but don’t put the death of a student on them. We’re all adults here and make decisions, some wrong ones were made. I don’t think Kevin really knows how things at the university work (as in the government of things). I also think these articles have really tarnished UCF in the way they were written.

    This girl died people, and all we have done is make her death terribly more miserable than it should be for her family and boyfriend. You made her seem like an irresponsible party sorority girl that got wasted at a frat party and died from over-drinking before you had any facts. You broke the story but you broke it wrong. Imagine you just lost your second child because of a medication mishap or organ failure, with minimal link to alcohol and now the nation thinks she was just some dumb sorority girl, tragically drinking herself to death .

    This needs to stop, or at least until the FINAL information from the autopsy is released. This is undignified. The police report was released, it should not have been. The 911 call was released, are you fricking kidding me? None of this was necessary as it is no business of ours or the public to see or hear things that private. Think of the family for god’s sake. Leave this poor girls story alone.

  5. Great article. After a tragedy like this, the best response is to develop a realistic plan to prevent further tradgedies. UCF Greeks are still drinking, and are unabated by this ban. However, if someone does have a medical emergency, students should not need to think twice about calling for help. MAP is the best thing Ucf can do now.

    Also, Sigma Chi, stop blaming Knight News for reporting the facts. If Knight News wasn’t around, another media source would have covered the incident. The best advice for your fraternity is not to blame the news, but to stay out of it. Afterall, whether you like it or not, the media is more powerful than anything.

  6. What did you expect Brock LIKES IT THE ASS. BUT this idea was brought up by the one and only AManda Newby, aka Brock’s BFF. She proposed the ban which is stupid because 1. she was at an unregistered wet event and banning registered wet events makes Greeks have more unregistered wt events. Secondly only student conduct can abridge and restrict a student organization’s rights without a hearing. Greek council does not have the authority to ban this stuff. OSFL definitely can but Greek Council does not. Greek Council could very well be cut from the ASF budget if Senate ever decided it was appropriate.

  7. Just for the record, Student Senate is working on a Medical Amnesty Policy. If I may speak for Senate, we collectively see the need for a policy that will protect our students from being persecuted for seeking help in a life-threatening situation. Our University needs to be on par with the others in the state and we as SGA are working on getting there. It just takes time.

  8. I watched WFTV last night and they reported that this Greek Council “moratorium” was basically shoved down the Greek’s throats… it blind sided all the Greek who knew nothing about it until after it was passed.

    Who did know about it? The Greek Life office. The only reason this moratorium happened is because the administration told Adam Brock to do it and he obeyed. They made empty threats that if Greek Council didn’t do it, Administration would do it. (They legally can’t without a hearing.)

    Thanks, Brock. You once again have bent over and let the administration walk all over you. Hope it pays off when Hitt writes you a letter of rec to some 4th tier lawschool where you’ll make 45k after college after being saddled with 200k in debt.

  9. The girl’s heart sped up and “hurt.” Do you know how alcohol poisoning works? When was the last time you were drunk and your organs (or anything for that matter) sped up? Alcohol is a depressant.

    More importantly, how are you going to sit there and blame Sigma Chi when there is no evidence suggesting they were responsible? I think that’s the exact point “Kevin you’re an idiot” was trying to make. Ignorant people like “kevin is right”, “stupid”, and “Diana” are unaware of things and they read something and fill in holes based on stereotypes.

    Do you really think if Sigma Chi drugged this girl they would be on campus still? Or that if she died of alcohol poisioning, Sigma Chi wouldn’t be in worst trouble?

    I’m truly dumbfounded that idiots like you guys are receiving a college education. Enjoy spending 6 years of your lives trying to get a 4 year degree only to work for 40k a year. At least if you were Greek and as dumb as you are, you would have a decent paying job out of college due to connections you made.

    P.S. I’m a GDI and I think paying for friends is retarded, but at the same time, blatant ignorance is 10x worst.

  10. This is college. People drink. Underage or legal- college kids will drink. News Flash: This isn’t the first or the last time a college student will drink underage. Whoever supplied the drinks (Sigma Chi) should be held responsible, as should the underage drinkes who present fake IDs or lie about their ages. Ann’s death was tragic, but stripping organization’s rights to host wet events (especially if students are over 21) infringes on their rights. Doing this will cause Greek Life to get more creative- to find ways to host wet events. All that built up resentment will lead to bigger parties and drinking binges. I guarantee it.

    UCF lay off. Sigma Chi, own up. Tri Delt, step forward and admit that you did NOT protect your new bid. It’s so disgusting that TriDelt would host a vigil, yet know that in some way they are also responsible for Ann’s death by not looking after and 18-year old freshman. Kevin, stop trying to save UCF, one editorial at a time. The rest of the Greek system should use this as an example of which NOT to follow. The Hefferin Family should come forward and just tell the public about their daughter’s underlying medical condition so UCF can rebound from this. We all know something else was going on with Ann. The unamed/undisclosed medication? Students just don’t die from alcohol intake unless it was alcohol poisoning- which the autopsy did not mention. The medical examiner would have mentioned alcohol poisoning if that was the case, since it would have been an open and shut case- but clearly, something else was going on with Ann Hefferin.

    I mean no disrespect, but honestly…let’s move on. This entire case has fallen victim to sensationalizm, secrets, coincidences, and underage kids. Let’s move on.

  11. its true. What a joke that sigma chis come on here blaming some student journalist for saying she was at a fraternity party. If you didn’t want to be the only key fact before her death then you shouldn’t have given this underage girl alcohol. The only thing i dont like about this editorial is that it doesnt blame sigma chi more for what happened.

  12. Kevin didn’t give that underage girl alcohol, sigma chi did. Does that mean the whole greek community should suffer? For all we know sigma chi drugged this girl or is responsible for her death. Don’t blame a reporter for reporting the news the facts were she was at a fraternity party and if he didn’t report it someone else would have he was just the first to confirm it. I’m sick of the greeks blaming their problems on other people grow up and live with your mistakes.

  13. If it wasn’t for your news report stating that this girl was at a fraternity party for an astonishing hour, this story wouldn’t have been as viral as it has been. I mean no disrespect in saying this, but had the words fraternity not been associated with this story, this would have been another death that was forgotten in a few hours.

    Thanks to you taking advantage of the negative stereotypes associated with greek life in order to make a good story, you’ve pretty much ruined the Greek system at UCF because in case you haven’t noticed, almost all preceding news reports have been based on your original one.

    Congratulations on ruining UCF greek life to better your career.

    And now you have the nerve to say the university’s response is wrong?

  14. You’re stupid! they broke this story and have gotten national recognition, they havent made one correction to any of their stories about ann and they dont have to. Cause everything they said has been the truth. Knightnews is the ONLY award winning publication here and this editorial is so true.

  15. This is an awful article. Bad circumstances, but lets be serious. Do I need to even speak about why this doesn’t make sense? Use your noggin! (or jsut reread all the honest correct remarks written in teh previous article) Again, horrible article. Knightnews, get out.

  16. I appreciate your insight. Coming from another school that had a similar ban enacted by the administration a couple years ago, it has been very negative. It has pushed parties further away from campus to avoid prosecution & resulted in a 61% increase in DUIs.

    You have to accept some facts of life. Greeks don’t pay all that money to buy their friends. They can and do make friends as easily as anyone else. That money is just like membership in a country club. If you don’t deliver services to your members that they value higher than the money they’re paying in then you cannot recruit or retain members, period. No one pays thousands of dollars to be part of a study group with their friends or play intramurals. These organizations MUST deliver a sufficient number of events with alcohol or they cannot survive. That doesn’t mean they have to buy or distribute the alcohol, but they must have the events. If the rules don’t allow that, they’ll do it anyway or die off. Rules like this simply put a gun to their head and force them to break the rules to get ahead. I don’t think that’s the kind of ethics any University should be causing students to learn, certainly not when the only thing gained is more dangerous behavior.

    Universities are not parents. They are not responsible for students outside the classroom in place of parents. These are adults. They do need to learn personal responsibility, but there is nothing whatsoever a University can do to teach that or guarantee their safety in the process. Any attempt to do so almost universally makes things worse while exposing the University to even more liability.

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