Lambda Chi Alpha's UK chapter suspended

ctruman@herald-leader.comAugust 26, 2010 

Lambda Chi Alpha's chapter at the University of Kentucky has been suspended by the fraternity's national headquarters in Indianapolis after campus police found minors drinking alcohol at the fraternity's house early Sunday morning.

Tad Lichtenauer, director of communications for the fraternity, said in a statement that the suspension will continue until an investigation conducted by fraternity officials and the University of Kentucky is completed.

The suspension apparently stems from a police visit to the fraternity's Huguelet Drive house early Sunday following a noise complaint. UK police chief Joe Monroe said officers issued eight citations for minors in possession of alcohol.

"When our officers got up there, they did find some alcohol, as well as some underage drinking," Monroe said.

"The back-to-school time is always a busy time for us," Monroe said, adding that six to 10 UK police officers circulate around campus to maintain order. "The whole reason I started that several years ago is that I wanted to cut back on the irresponsible behavior of underage drinking."

UK fraternity recruitment began Sunday and ends Friday. Because of its suspension, Lambda Chi is not participating in recruitment.

The UK chapter's adviser, Bobby Allen McDowell, referred a request for comment to Lichtenauer. The chapter's president, John Nunnelley, could not be reached for comment.

The last fraternity suspended at the University of Kentucky was Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which was suspended earlier this year for alleged hazing. The chapter's charter was revoked, and it is no longer active on the UK campus, according to UK spokesman Gail Hairston.

Drew Smith, UK's director of alcohol and health education, said incoming freshmen have had to complete an online course to educate them about the pressures of drinking in college. The course will be followed up with additional contact later in the year, he said.

"Some students ... may have been drinking since they were 14; some may not have ever smelled alcohol before," Smith said.

Students sometimes use alcohol as a social lubricant or even view the use of alcohol as the primary purpose of a social event, Smith said: "Alcohol and drinking games are the event, and social interaction seems secondary to the event."

Lambda Chi Alpha has nearly 200 chapters across North America, with more than 275,000 members, according to the fraternity headquarters.

According to the fraternity's Web site, its alumni include Fred Borch, the former chief executive officer of General Electric; and Richard Clark, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co.

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