OXFORD — A fireworks battle between two Miami University frat houses - Phi Kappa Tau and Sigma Alpha Epsilon - the weekend before fall classes began led police to a cache of drugs, and now several students could be criminally charged.
Steve Hartman, president of Phi Kappa Tau, said the Miami chapter of the fraternity has been suspended, effective immediately, pending the outcome of an investigation.
It is the latest example of Greek fraternities at the picturesque university landing in controversy - this time before even cracking a book or attending a lecture.
Oxford police were called after a fire alarm sounded at about 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, 310 Talawanda Rd., next door to Phi Kappa Tau.
When officers arrived, they saw someone shooting fireworks from the third floor at Phi Kappa Tau, said Sgt. Jon Varley, spokesman for Oxford police.
Students inside both frat houses had been shooting fireworks at each other, he said.
When police tried to investigate, the students refused to let them into the homes so officers had to get search warrants to go inside and see what exactly was going on.
That’s when they found large amounts of exploded and unexploded fireworks - and marijuana and drug paraphernalia in both homes
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The leaders of the Phi Kappa Tau chapter at Miami said the suspension interferes with the fraternity’s business operations, unfairly burdens student members and violates the members’ constitutional rights.