Education

Student death leads to temporary suspension of FIU fraternity

A fraternity at Florida International University has been temporarily suspended after the death of a female student at a off-campus party in Fort Lauderdale. Police say the death does not appear to be suspicious.
A fraternity at Florida International University has been temporarily suspended after the death of a female student at a off-campus party in Fort Lauderdale. Police say the death does not appear to be suspicious. Miami Herald Staff

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at Florida International University has been temporarily suspended after the death of a female student who attended an off-campus party.

Kellie Fullilove, a 19-year old nursing student at FIU, was found dead in a bed at the Bahia Mar hotel in Fort Lauderdale the morning after attending a formal event held Saturday at the hotel.

“Detectives have advised that this death does not appear to be suspicious,” Fort Lauderdale Police detective Tracy Figone wrote in an email.

The fraternity, also known as Fiji, was placed on suspension by both FIU and the organization's national headquarters. Fiji’s executive director, Bill Martin, did not immediately return a call for comment.

FIU is investigating. In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for FIU wrote that the fraternity is “not allowed to hold meetings and events or participate in campus events as a group, pending the results of the investigation.”

Michael Grieco, an attorney representing Fullilove’s family, described the young woman as a straight-A student in an accelerated program. She comes from a large family of sisters, he said.

“She was definitely dedicated to helping people,” Grieco said.

Fullilove’s family has launched an online campaign to raise money for her funeral.

Fiji, which has about 60 members, was the first fraternity house to open on FIU’s campus in 2001. The fraternity came under scrutiny in 2008 after a pornographic video was purportedly shot in the Fiji house.

In 2013, the FIU chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was shut down after Facebook messages referencing drug dealing and hazing were made public. The fraternity, also known as Pike, had a long history of violations at the university, and had been found guilty of underage drinking and vandalizing a student’s car, among other offenses.

Christina Veiga: 305-376-2029, @cveiga

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