March 30, 2013

Fraternities worse than Animal House fail to pay for casualties


Elon's Lambda chapter had a turbulent past. Since 2005, Elon had cited it for breaching school policy at on-campus and off-campus events, placed it on probation and voiced concern about drug use and hazing, court records show.

The chapter's risk manager, a 20-year-old, was responsible for enforcing the rules set by the national fraternity, based in Indianapolis. Those rules state that no chapter may provide unrestricted access to alcohol and that chapter funds may not be used to buy it. Around that time, each chapter member paid annual dues of $400, including $65 to the national organization and $93 to an insurance brokerage that the national co-owned.

Carolyn Whittier, Elon's then director of Greek Life, warned a Lambda national executive in August 2006 that there were problems at the chapter, including drug use.

"It is highly advised that the Grand High Zeta" - the national's board of directors - place the chapter under alumni control, Whittier wrote. Lambda didn't follow her advice. It did send a representative to meet with the Elon chapter that November.

Lambda, which had 2011 revenue of $7.5 million for the national and related foundation, has had three deaths linked to chapter events since 2005. Tad Lichtenauer, a spokesman for Lambda, declined to comment.

On the Friday night of the party, Mynhardt started drinking at friends' apartments, police records show. Then he and some classmates drank at two local bars. At one, Mynhardt met a sophomore, Mary Kelly. They left the pub at 2 a.m., closing time, and joined the crowd at "211."

By then, more than 15 of the Lambda chapter's 23 members had made their way to the keg party, court records show. The next day was Lambda's "wing bowl" - a chicken-eating gala that was the year's top recruiting event - and potential recruits had come by.

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