The University of Central Florida is continuing its investigation surrounding the Aug. 25 death of freshman Ann Marie Hefferin.
Hefferin, an 18-year-old freshman from Maitland, was found by roommates in their Lake Claire residence at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 25. A call was placed to 911, CPR was performed and emergency units responded immediately.
Hefferin was transported to Florida Hospital East at about 4:30 a.m.
Following more than a day of interviews, UCF police have determined that Hefferin was at the Sigma Chi fraternity house on campus for a little more than an hour the evening of Aug. 24. Interviews have led police to conclude that alcohol was present at the fraternity house, which is a violation of university rules.
“Although we do not know if it played a role in Ann’s death, alcohol was at the Sigma Chi house, which is a violation of university policy,” said UCF spokesperson Grant J. Heston. “This is a serious matter; the fraternity is immediately subject to our disciplinary process and will be held accountable for its actions. We await news from the medical examiner that will help further guide our investigation and response.”
Many fraternity and sorority events must be approved by their national offices and the university, and this activity was not approved by UCF or the national office.
UCF is sending Sigma Chi and the Delta Delta Delta sorority a notification to cease all social activities while the incident continues to be investigated. UCF is home to 46 Greek organizations involving more than 3,000 students.
According to UCF’s “Golden Rule” student handbook, penalties for a fraternity can consist of sanctions up to and including a recommendation that its charter be revoked. Sigma Chi has been in good standing with the university and is not currently on probation or subject to university sanctions.
“We continue to grieve this terrible loss and to offer our assistance to Ann’s family and friends,” Heston said.
UCF offers a variety of alcohol prevention programs designed to help students stay safe and make responsible decisions about alcohol use. The U.S. Department of Education recognized UCF’s alcohol education programs as a national model in 2010.
All freshmen are required to complete a two-hour online alcohol education course that covers how to call for help if a friend appears intoxicated, how to refuse an offer for a drink, myths and misperceptions about alcohol and more. In addition, all resident assistants completed a two-hour program this summer designed to help them recognize signs of high-risk drinking and to help their peers make sound decisions regarding alcohol.
UCF’s Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Programming office gives regular presentations in classes, student organizations’ meetings and in residence halls, as well as at events open to all students. UCF also offers students Late Knights programs that provide fun activities such as music and dancing in an alcohol-free environment.