Alpha Chi Alpha and Alpha Delta fraternities are currently under indictment for allegedly serving alcohol to minors in two separate incidents.
AD was indicted by Grafton County Superior Court on two counts of serving to minors, and Alpha Chi received one count. If found guilty, the two organizations could face a maximum fine of $20,000 for each count, according to Hanover Police Chief Nick Giaccone.
If the fraternities choose to take their cases to trial, the proceedings will be held in Grafton County Superior Court in North Haverhill, Giaccone said.
AD’s indictments stemmed from an incident that occurred last Oct. 18 at a social event involving the underage drinking of a Dartmouth student and a female visitor to the College.
The Coed Fraternity Sorority Council’s Judiciary Committee has already disciplined AD for the incident.
According to a CFS release, AD was placed on probation through March 13 for their violation of Section I of the College Alcohol Policy, “distribution of alcoholic beverages to individuals under the legal drinking age” at the Oct. 18 social event.
However, AD is still subject to potential adjudication by the court system.
AD’s president could not be reached for comment last night.
The Alpha Chi incident, also involving an underage Dartmouth student, occurred last Dec. 11.
In addition to facing a possible trial, Alpha Chi also still faces the likelihood of sanctions from the CFS Judiciary Committee.
Marty Dengler ’97, the former chair of the CFS Judiciary Committee, said that the case against Alpha Chi “is currently being considered” by the JC.
Assistant Dean of Residential Life Deb Reinders confirmed that Alpha Chi is “under investigation” by the JC.
Nate Taylor ’98, Alpha Chi’s president this term, wrote in an e-mail message that Alpha Chi intends to plead not guilty to the charges.
Taylor added it was “unfortunate these fraternities must be penalized for the irresponsible behavior of minors.”
He wrote that “the problem is not with the fraternities, it is with these individuals.”
While the JC heard 60 cases last year, the Alpha Chi and AD cases are the only two on record in the past year that involve court indictments.
Reinders said the CFSC uses “the same judicial procedures for all cases” regardless of whether or not the police are involved, though information brought to light by the police could be used in the JC proceeding.
Giaccone said indictments against Greek houses at the College are somewhat unusual — with about 10 having come down in the past 10 years.
Such indictments usually result from an “unusual event that has come to the attention of the police” which may involve a sick or injured person, Giaccone said.
However, no one was hospitalized as a result of either the AD or Alpha Chi incident.
But Giaccone stressed that the “serving of alcohol to minors, regardless of whether or not someone is hurt, is against the law.”
The Hanover Police do not normally get involved with such incidents unless Safety and Security requests it, Giaccone said.
Giaccone said the indictments are against the organizations. “No one was formally brought in and booked and charged” in either incident, he said.
The two incidents are part of a growing concern at the College about the dangers of underage alcohol use.
According to Director of Health Services Gabrielle Lucke, a “substantial amount” of those students who were admitted to Dick’s House or to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for over-intoxication during Fall term were under 21.
Underage drinking at fraternities is not isolated to Dartmouth, though.
In Nov. 1995, at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, an 18-year-old female student was hospitalized after being served hard liquor at a party at Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
The UNH fraternity received a $10,000 fine and its members were sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service. ATO was also prohibited from holding any parties with alcohol for five years.
Last August, Durham police found 14 beers on ATO’s porch, and Strafford County Superior Court Judge Larry Smuckler earlier this week found the fraternity guilty of violating its alcohol ban. Smuckler sentenced the fraternity to an additional 1,000 hours of community service, according to the Associated Press.
Sentences of organizations that are found guilty of serving to minors are handed out purely at the court’s discretion. This could explain the severe sentence against the UNH fraternity, as opposed to the more lenient penalties Greek organizations at the College have received in the past.
For example, Delta Delta Delta sorority in February, 1995 pleaded “no contest” in court to charges it had served alcohol to a minor at a party the previous spring. Tri-Delt was sentenced to a $5,000 fine and 500 hours of community service — a relatively mild sanction compared to ATO’s five-year alcohol ban.