CINCINNATI — Miami University of Ohio has suspended a sorority for a year after a lodge owner complained about damage and unruly behavior at a spring formal including guests urinating in sinks, men scrambling over the bar for drinks, and couples caught having sex.
The action against the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women chapter followed a letter of complaint from the lodge owner to the southwest Ohio school about the April 9 event at Lake Lyndsay Lodge, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati.
Pi Beta Phi's national leadership said in a statement that it has placed the Miami chapter on probation "in order to change the culture of the chapter and to ensure it models Pi Beta Phi and Miami University values."
The suspension means the sorority loses its campus dorm suite, can't recruit new members and can't participate as a group in campus activities, Miami spokeswoman Claire Wagner said.
"We are extremely disappointed and embarrassed by the behavior displayed by these students," David Hodge, Miami's president, said Tuesday in a statement. "Their actions are contrary to the values of Miami University. We deeply regret the impacts that their actions have had on the owner and staff of the facility and on the rest of our student body."
There was no answer Tuesday at an Oxford, Ohio, telephone listing for the chapter.
The school suspended the group after an April 30 hearing. The letter from lodge owner Lyndsay Rapier-Phipps has began circulating online, and in it, she describes many guests arriving intoxicated.
Participants urinated in sinks, vomited and broke a concrete lion and other items. Two couples were caught having sex, some people tried to swim in the lake, someone flipped over the appetizer table, and men climbed over a counter to get drinks after the caterer cut off alcohol. A pile of human feces was found outside the lodge, she wrote.
"Some could barely manage to walk inside the facility," the letter states, then goes on to describe one couple caught having sex in a closet and another in a beach house, in addition to other crude or destructive behavior.
"We are appalled at the students' behavior," Rapier-Phipps wrote. "My husband and I are graduates of Miami University, and we both agree that college students can drink and have a good time, but (the formal) ... was a bunch of college students getting totally obliterated and behaving like immature children."
She said she kept the group's $500 security deposit for damages and extra cleaning costs at the lodge, a popular site for weddings, proms and other gatherings.
"The alumnae join Fraternity leadership in expressing great disappointment in the decisions of a few chapter members who have completely disregarded the values in which Pi Beta Phi was founded," Mary Loy Tatum, grand president of the 134-chapter organization, said in a statement.
The chapter must submit a reorganization plan before being considered for reinstatement after May 31, 2011, the school said. If it is accepted, the sorority would be on probation for two semesters during which it would be banned from "any social function with alcohol."
On the Net:
Pi Beta Phi: http://www.pibetaphi.org