Sep 282005
Authors: James Baetke

Another set of Colorado university fraternities are facing disciplinary actions after a weekend party sent several underage University of Colorado-Boulder women to the hospital, apparently from alcohol poisoning.

Early Saturday, emergency personnel responded to the Greek fraternities of Sigma Pi and Phi Kappa Tao after receiving 911 calls that seven to nine girls were unresponsive after attending parties on the CU campus, police said.

Ryan Lynch, internal vice-president for the CU Interfraternity council, said the Greek community has voted to ban all parties in the houses.

"As of Monday, we have suspended all alcohol-related parties in the houses for the immediate future," Lynch said.

Lynch was privy to police reports that have since been sealed to the public. He said the blood alcohol content of the women hospitalized were "very high."

"One was as high as .32," Lynch said.

In Colorado, drivers who have an alcohol level more than .08 are legally too drunk to drive.

Lynch said he is anxiously awaiting toxicology reports to prove allegations that one of the girls was drugged causing her to black out and go to the hospital that night. He said she claims to have had one drink the whole night.

Julie Brooks, spokeswoman for Boulder police, said the underage girls were admitted to two different hospitals and police still have to sort out if they were directly linked to the parties.

Both fraternities were issued noise nuisance tickets and one girl was ticketed for possessing alcohol as a minor, Brooks said. More charges could follow.

This was the latest in an epidemic of alcohol-related problems at Colorado's university campuses.

Earlier this month, eight separate CSU sororities and fraternities were disciplined for a series of infractions involving alcohol.

The incidents also come more than a year after Sigma Pi was kicked off the CSU campus for violating alcohol policies and being indirectly involved in the accidental death of Samantha Spady, who died of severe alcohol poisoning.

A CU student, Lynn Gordon Bailey, Jr., also died last year of drug-and-alcohol-related causes.

Mark Driscoe, executive director for the Sigma Pi national chapter, said the latest event is unfortunate, but applauds his men for following chapter alcohol policies.

"Our guys really did work at that function to make sure sober people were monitoring the situation," Driscoe said.

Driscoe said his men in Boulder knew the signs of alcohol poisoning since the death of Spady and the awareness it brought to Sigma Pi chapters across the nation.

"We saw some people this weekend not letting others sleep it off," Driscoe said. "It is a bitter sweet situation."

Both fraternities were registered over the weekend with Boulder police for planning the party noting that those over 21 may be consuming alcohol. Wristbands were also in use as was an Interfraternity crew who self-monitors parties enforcing policy.

John Henderson, Greek liaison for CU, said the university is in a "holding pattern" in deciding what consequences the houses will face, he said.

"We need to be accountable for what happened," Henderson said.

Driscoe said the national chapter will not disband the fraternity from its charter.

"Any chapter that has a house where alcohol is involved," Henderson said, "we all have to be accountable for keeping people safe."

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