Updated: 8:17 a.m. Friday, May 14, 2010 | Posted: 8:27 p.m. Thursday, May 13, 2010

UD sorority disciplined for wild party

Alcohol-fueled misbehavior at Dayton mirrors problems at Miami.

By Mark Fisher

Staff Writer

The same late March weekend that Miami University sorority Alpha Xi Delta was trashing the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, members and guests of the University of Dayton sorority Alpha Phi were wreaking havoc upon the Top of the Market on Webster Street in downtown Dayton, ripping the sink off a men’s room wall, urinating and vomiting on carpet, stealing alcohol, and spraying mustard and ketchup on the walls and floors, according to Dayton police.

A UD disciplinary hearing board will decide the Alpha Phi chapter’s formal punishment May 27, but its national office, Alpha Phi International, placed the UD chapter on probation April 5. The terms of the probation “will include allowing only alcohol-free events, as well as educational sessions related to alcohol use,” according to Linda Kahangi, Alpha Phi International’s executive director.

Why the recent rash of “Greeks Gone Wild” debauchery has focused on sororities rather than fraternities is something of a mystery to college officials, but Sister Annette Schmeling, UD’s vice president for student development and dean of students, offered one possible explanation.

“If you look at national trends in alcohol consumption, women are catching up to men,” Schmeling said.

Research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis published last year in the “Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” showed rates of binge drinking in male college students remained steady, while the rates in female college students increased dramatically. For women 21 to 23, binge drinking rose by about 40 percent, according to the study.

Schmeling said UD officials are exploring ways to cut down or eliminate the practice of “pre-gaming,” or students drinking alcohol, usually hard liquor, before going out to big events, or even for a night out. That seems to be a common thread in the most recent rash of destructive behavior, which included similar complaints about a second Miami University sorority, Pi Beta Phi, for damage and misconduct during its April 9 spring formal at Lake Lyndsay Lodge in St. Clair Twp.

Miami officials suspended that sorority for a year, and also suspended Miami’s Alpha Xi Delta sorority involved in the Underground Railroad museum incident for two years.

For his part, Sandy Mendelson — who owns the Webster Street building that houses the Top of the Market damaged by the UD sorority members and guests — considers the matter closed, and he praised the actions of both UD and the sorority following the incident.

“If kids go wild, it’s not UD’s fault,” Mendelson said, declining to disclose the total cost of repairs and cleanup. “UD could not have been more gracious. ... Some of the girls came back in and apologized.”

UD’s Schmeling said the university reimbursed Mendelson about $2,300 for repairs, and intends to obtain restitution from the students who were responsible for the damage. “We are holding these women accountable,” Schmeling said.

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