Crawford calls emergency meeting with sorority, fraternity leaders

Following what university administration and police are calling an “alarming” number of alcohol-related hospitalizations that coincided with the end of sorority rush Thursday night, President Gregory Crawford held an emergency meeting with the leaders of Miami’s fraternities and sororities in his home at Lewis Place.

From the evening of Thursday, Feb. 9 to the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 12, the Oxford Fire Department responded to 21 alcohol-related calls from Miami University students. Eleven of the calls were made within a three hour period late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

“Any time you are looking at double digits, that is far out of the ordinary,” said Jayne Brownell, vice president for Student Affairs.

Seventeen of the students hospitalized over the weekend were females, while four were males. All but two of the students were underage.

It is not clear whether all of the students hospitalized were members of the Greek community, but Brownell acknowledged that most of the hospitalizations stemmed from the conclusion of the formal period of sorority rush.

“You can only have so many formal events and keep people in a more controlled situation for so long. We didn’t know what might happen when people were free to do what they wanted to do again,” Brownell said. “Unfortunately, there were a high number of incidents.”

Friday morning, after hearing that the number of hospitalizations the night before was unusually high, Crawford convened a meeting with all fraternity and sorority presidents, along with leaders from the Interfraternity Council and the national Pan-Hellenic Council.

The meeting, which lasted  approximately two hours, included almost 50 leaders from Miami’s Greek community. Crawford said in an interview on Monday that while he was thankful they made sure their friends were safe, his overall feeling with the Greek community was one of disappointment.

The spike in alcohol-related hospitalizations last weekend was particularly troubling to him, he said, given the recent death of first-year Erica Buschick.

The 18-year-old was found dead in her Morris Hall dorm room Jan. 20. While the Butler County Coroner has not yet released a toxicology report, high-risk alcohol consumption undoubtedly contributed to her death.

“We lost someone two weeks ago and that could have very easily happened last night. Luckily, it didn’t because people stepped up to help,” Crawford said. “But what is happening with our culture as a whole, that two weeks later, students are not taking away messages from what happened to Erica?”

John Detherage, chief of the Oxford Fire Department, said in an email that the influx of calls this weekend stressed the fire department’s capabilities.

“We have a tough enough time trying to attract part-time folks to work here and nights like this don’t help with recruitment or retention,” Detherage said. “As you can imagine, 11 calls in three hours in the middle of the night doesn’t leave much time to get any rest when you are working a 12- or 24-hour shift.”