Two fraternities receive temporary suspension
Published: Friday, August 24, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 24, 2012 00:08
Miami University has issued a summary suspension to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Phi Kappa Tau fraternities following weekend misconduct by members of the two fraternities who, reportedly detonated fireworks in the fraternity houses.
The fraternities will not be allowed to participate in any activities until the full investigation is over and all members will be required to move out of the fraternity houses, according to Claire Wagner, associate director of university communications. This includes 37 sophomore students who will have to live on campus due to Miami’s sophomore residency requirement.
“We have high expectations for students at Miami,” Wagner said. “The allegations are very serious and we are disappointed that students would do this.”
The incident began the morning of August 19 around 5:30 a.m., when police were dispatched in response to a fire alarm at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, according to Jon Varley of the Oxford Police Department (OPD).
When the officer reached the house, he saw fireworks being shot from the third story of the neighboring Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house, Varley said. The Oxford Fire Department was also present due to the fire alarm, but received no cooperation from members of either fraternity, Varley said.
“They flat out refused to cooperate all around,” Varley said. “Initially all police were looking for were fireworks. Unfortunately this had to become more than it needed to be.”
Because the members refused to cooperate, officers obtained a search warrant and proceeded to search the houses. Inside they found drugs, drug paraphernalia and fireworks, according to Varley.
Varley said OPD believes the drugs found in the house were cocaine and marijuana, but a lab has yet to officially confirm this.
The officers also found that fireworks had been detonated inside the house. When officers entered the house they found members of the fraternity asleep in their beds despite the ringing fire alarm, according to Varley.
“They could have ignited inside the house,” Varley said. “The real tragedy would have been if one of the houses had caught on fire some of the people might have never gotten out.”
Although no arrests have been made yet, Varley said there is an ongoing investigation and he anticipates that charges will be filed by OPD and OFD.
Miami will work with OPD in its investigation, according to Wagner.
Shooting off fireworks is illegal in Ohio, as well as possession of cocaine and marijuana.
“This happened before these boys had spent even five minutes in a classroom,” Varley said. “The Greek system is supposed to set an example. I wouldn’t want my kids to follow this example.”
Phi Kappa Tau’s national headquarters suspended the Miami chapter of the fraternity Tuesday, August 21. Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters has suspended six members from the Miami chapter.
Wagner said she was not sure when Miami’s investigation would end, but did say that the university will be investigating both the organizations and individual members of the fraternities.