Vt. Police crash KDE formal

by Kate Lyon | 11/17/04 6:00am

The Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority formal Monday night saw some uninvited guests: the Hartford Police.

Police decided to check whether the Coolidge Hotel in White River Junction, Vt., where the formal was held, was enforcing liquor laws, said front desk manager Midge Stebbins. The police arrived around 11 p.m., and did not find anything out of order at the party, she said.

The police checked IDs and issued Breathalyzer tests to some people, but did not arrest anyone, said KDE president Katherine Heyman '05.

According to Stebbins, the police conduct random inspections of the establishment once or twice a year. The Coolidge's policy on drinking during events adheres to "general guidelines that every establishment that serves alcohol to the public has to follow," said Stebbins.

"You have to be 21 to drink, and we definitely card people," she said. "If you bring alcohol on the premises, it's confiscated; and we don't allow people to go outside with alcohol."

This is the second encounter KDE has had with local authorities in 10 days. The New Hampshire State liquor commissioner visited the sorority's semi-formal event on Nov. 6 and told the organization that it was operating illegally without a liquor license. The state has yet to take any action against KDE for the alleged violation.

Hotel staff said they didn't know what prompted the police to visit the establishment Monday night. Peter Morris, a front desk clerk, speculated that a few people drinking outside during the formal might have caused the visit.

"We do all kind of parties and the normally the Hartford Police are very understanding," said Morris. "Nothing about this event was unusual, and why they decided to do something I don't know."

The Hartford Police were unable to comment, citing computer failures at the station.

The visit also baffled the formal attendees.

"We didn't expect the police to come," said Heyman.

A popular location for sorority and fraternity formals for many years, the hotel is "well-educated in what to look for, how to handle it and what to do with it when [they] find it," said Stebbins.

With many Greek houses, including Psi Upsilon and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities and Sigma Delta sorority, holding their formals at the Coolidge in the next few weeks, last night's unexpected visit provides a caution to adhere to drinking laws.

"We plan on adhering to the laws of the states of Vermont and New Hampshire with regard to underage drinking," said Psi U social chair Will Hiltz '05. "We desire nothing but the warmest possible relationship with local law enforcement."

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