The Miami University chapter of Pi Beta Phi sorority has been suspended through May 31, 2011, after “members and guests displayed disrespectful and reckless behavior at an event at a local facility this spring,” according to a university press release.

The chapter violated Miami’s Code of Student Conduct Section 105B Prohibited Use of Alcohol, Section 104 Damage to Property, and Section 113 Disorderly Conduct, said the release and an administrative hearing was held April 30.

The formal was held April 9 at Lake Lyndsay Lodge located in Hamilton, Ohio.

A letter (see right) written by Lyndsay Rapier-Phipps, owner of the lodge, was meant to be seen only by Miami University administration but began circulating online. In it, she said most students arrived at the lodge heavily intoxicated, the caterer decided to stop serving the students alcohol because of their behavior and couples were caught having sex in two different locations throughout the facility.

The lodge was hosting a non-alcoholic wedding the following morning, in which members could arrive as early as 8 a.m. to begin setting up, the letter said. Because an entire appetizer table had been flipped over by a male student and others continued to walk over the mess and grind it into the ground, carpet cleaners had to be hired at midnight in order for the facility to be ready for the next day.

According to Eily Cummings, assistant director of the marketing and communications department for Pi Beta Phi, said action was taken as soon as the national headquarters was notified of the actions that took place.

“We immediately put the chapter on investigative status and then probation,” Cummings said.

According to Chris Taylor, associate director of ethics and student conflict resolution, the university received a complaint from the owner of the venue, at which time they determined the actions violated the Code of Student Conduct.

Taylor said the group elected an administrative hearing. They chose not to appeal the decision and did not refuse any of their charges.

With the sophomore on-campus housing requirement, new members of Pi Beta Phi planned on living in their sorority’s corridor in Minnich Hall for the 2010-2011 school year.

Lucinda Coveney, director of housing contracts and meal plan services, said the new members would not be able to live in their sorority’s corridor, though they are still guaranteed on-campus housing as sophomores.

Taylor agreed.

“We would not allow members to live in their corridor as an organization not recognized by the university.” Taylor said.

Coveney said placement for the women would be easier to determine after others had filled the beds in Minnich.

Despite Pi Beta Phi’s suspension and the suspension of Miami’s Delta Delta Delta chapter last year, Taylor said the positives of Greek life outweigh the negatives.

“There’s a very strong Greek community here,” Taylor said.

University President David Hodge did not believe this was an accurate representation of Greek life at Miami.

“The ideals of the Greek system align beautifully with the ideals of Miami,” Hodge said. “It’s beyond disappointing.”

Hodge said he has also heard from new members of the sorority.

“I’ve gotten notes from members of Pi Phi about when they came in, what a wonderful experience it has been for them,” Hodge said.

Hodge also said he sees wonderful things happen with the Greek system, but these negative actions have gotten much attention this spring.

According to the university press release, Pi Beta Phi will have to present a reorganization plan to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternal Life. If the university then chooses to recognize the sorority, the group will be placed on disciplinary probation for two semesters in which they may not participate in any social function involving alcohol.

Members of the sorority could not be reached for comment. 

For more information on the damages, please read the letter available for download above.

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