Miami University suspended two fraternities Thursday following an incident last weekend involving a fireworks battle between the frat houses that led police to find a large cache of illegal drugs
The suspensions, which are temporary, were issued for Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Phi Kappa Tau, pending a full investigation, according to a university statement.
Because of the suspensions, 37 sophomore members at the fraternities will need to move to campus due to Miami’s residence requirements.
“Student organizations are expected to provide opportunities for the positive development of students in an educational and safe environment. Based on what we know at this time it appears that was not the case at Miami’s Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter houses,” said Barbara Jones, vice president for student affairs at Miami.
The incident occurred about 5:30 a.m. Sunday when a fire alarm went off at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, 310 N. Tallawanda Road, next door to the Phi Kappa Tau house at 320 N. Tallawanda Road.
When police arrived, they saw a person shooting fireworks from the third floor of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at the Phi Kappa Tau house. Police later learned that students from both fraternity houses had allegedly been shooting fireworks at each other.
Police asked to enter the frat houses, but were turned away. They later returned with search warrants to look for explosives and they found much more.
Unmarked bottles of pills, scales, bongs, grinders, bags of marijuana and containers of white powder suspected to be cocaine were found among a stash of fireworks in the two houses, according to court documents.
At the Phi Kappa Tau house, 26 items were seized, according to search warrants obtained Thursday by the Middletown Journal/Hamilton JournalNews. Those items include an unlabeled prescription bottle with three different types of pills, a bag of marijuana and two marijuana pipes.
From one room at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, police seized two bongs, small bags with white powder, rolling papers, a jar with marijuana, scales, a grinder and a safe.
Bongs, multiple grinders, rolling papers, jars and bags of marijuana, a fake ID and a plethora of fireworks were also found at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, according to the search warrants.
Brandon Weghorst, Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s associate executive director for communication, said the chapter leadership of the house at Miami has already suspended six of its members who were involved in the incident. In a short statement, Weghorst said the membership suspensions were “for failing to comply with risk management regulations.”
“The national organization maintains stringent guidelines for all of its members regarding risk management, chapter house safety and illegal substances, and we do not condone actions that breach our policies,” he said.
Weghorst said, “there’s always a possibility that additional sanctions may be imposed on the chapter once the investigation is completed.”
As of Thursday afternoon, charges had not been filed against any of the students, but police and fire officials have said charges are pending. They are awaiting test results.
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