Usually fraternities take the flak for rowdy parties and out-of-control keggers, but the girls of Miami University's Pi Beta Phi sorority have been suspended after a lodge owner complained about damage (read: vomit, urine and feces) following their spring formal.
After receiving a letter of complaint from the owners of the Lake Lyndsay Lodge, Miami University of Ohio quickly suspended the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women. The girls were given a hearing on April 30th, to discuss the events of their April 9th formal, and school officials decided that "their actions are contrary to the values of Miami University," according to a statement from the university's president, and will be punished accordingly. The sorority has lost their campus dorm suite, is unable to recruit new members, and can't participate as a group in campus activities. Pi Beta Phi's national leadership has placed the Miami chapter on probation "in order to change the culture of the chapter." They will not be eligible for reinstatement until May 31, 2011.
As for what happened that night - well, it sounds like something straight out of Animal House. Having attended a college without fraternities or sororities, my education in these matters comes more from National Lampoon and 90's teen movies than personal experience, but I've always assumed that was the exaggerated version of The College Party. This is not to say that we didn't have college parties - or that people didn't occasionally pee in inappropriate places - but it never escalated to the scale of Pi Beta Phi (at least, not that I knew of). According to the letter from lodge owner Lyndsay Rapier-Phipps, the students arrived at the house drunk, and things only got worse from there. Here are a few choice excerpts from her letter:
When the students arrived around 8:00pm most were already heavily intoxicated and some could barely manage to walk inside the facility. Upon arrival, a male student asked the Lake Lyndsay staff member Yvonne if she had a washer and dryer in the building because he had vomited on his shirt and pants...
There were also two girls who continually vomited throughout the facility. Yvonne told them if they were not able to make it to the bathroom stall the next time they had to vomit, she would have to ask them to leave the building and wait outside for the buses.
When the caterer decided to stop serving the alcohol because the students were overly intoxicated, a couple of the male students climbed over the bar and on top of the counter to get around the caterer and to the alcohol.
Two male students started to remove their clothing and decided they were going to go swimming in the lake. Yvonne had to threaten to call the police before they agreed to put their clothing back on and go inside the building...
Elizabeth (a staff member from the Lake Lyndsay Lodge) saw a group of male students on the side of the building laughing, and when both Yvonne and Elizabeth went back later to see what they had done, they found a pile of human feces on the side of the building.
Her letter goes on to describe how several of her staffers found students having sex in the caterer's closet and in the Beach House (a lodge property that was off limits to the formal attendees). Rapier-Phipps notes that while they were generous enough to allow the sorority to use their decorations, they were repaid for this deed by finding several of their crystal vases shattered, apparently having been thrown off a balcony.
Unfortunately, this may be a case of a few bad apples ruining the whole bunch. "There were over 300 people attending this event and the vast majority of them acted appropriately," said Mary Tatum, grand president of Pi Beta Phi. But the students who did run wild did it with true abandon, resulting in a suspension for the sorority and a quickly-going-viral letter. And even if they are not embarrassed yet - for the cinematic scale of the destruction could spawn a certain level of pride - when they sober up once and for all, they might just see the career-damaging potential Miami University, Pi Beta Phi could have on their resumes.