Friday, October 16, 2009

Henderson State Sig Eps Face Alcohol Charges

Fraternity Faces Alcohal Controversy
Josh Briggs

Only two students were taken to the hospital due to apparent alcohol poisoning. The third suffered injuries after a fall while text messaging.

According to multiple sources close to the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon, one student, who requested that her name be withheld, and an unidentified male, were taken to the Baptist Health Center emergency room after attending a party at the Sig Ep house.

Arkadelphia and Henderson police arrived on the scene at around 1:30 a.m., according a witness, but a police report was turned in by the officers to confirm the time of the call.

A third student, who was unidentified, was taken to the hospital after falling down the stairs while he was texting, according to Chief of Henderson Police Johnny Campbell.

One source said that one of the students came to the party after she had already been drinking.

"She had been drinking before she went to the party," said Sherri Ausley, the student's mother. The student became ill after playing a drinking game called "shots around the world," said a source.

According to another source, the game is played by setting up shots of different liquor from different countries in different rooms then going through each room and taking shots.

"The Sig Ep guys knew that she had been drinking and that she was underage because she had an 'X' on her hand at the hospital, and they still sold her alcohol," said Ausley.

The selling of any alcohol is illegal in Arkansas and is also against the Fraternal Information and Programming Group Risk Management Policies that all fraternities and sororities on campus adopted.

The policy states that "the possession, sale, use or consumption of ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES [sic], while on chapter premises or during a fraternity event, in any situation sponsored or endorsed by the chapter, or at any event an observer would associate with the fraternity, must be in compliance with any and all applicable laws of the state, province, county, city and institution of higher education, and must comply with either the BYOB or Third Party Vendor Guidelines."

One source acknowledged that members of Sig Ep were selling $2 shots and that the student was buying them. The student would not comment on the matter.

After the student became ill, she was then taken from the house by someone whom Ausley identified as a "high school friend."

"Guys from Sig Ep said to just 'put her in the back room' and found it humorous," said Ausley.

According to one source, four people not associated with the fraternity helped take the student back to her room. A resident assistant saw the men trying to get her to her room and called 911. When the ambulance arrived, the student was taken to the hospital with apparent alcohol poisoning. Josh Berry, president of the Henderson chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon, declined to comment on the matters.

"We are still working with their Nationals in trying to figure this whole thing out," said Chad Fielding, dean of students.