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The Dartmouth
May 21, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hartford, Vt., police bust Alpha Xi formal

Hartford Police issued 35 citations to students at Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday night, where Alpha Xi Delta sorority was holding its fall formal.
Hartford Police issued 35 citations to students at Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt., Saturday night, where Alpha Xi Delta sorority was holding its fall formal.

The police arrived at the formal, held at the Hotel Coolidge in White River Junction, Vt., at 8:15 p.m. after responding to an ambulance call regarding a "semi-conscious female [who] was highly intoxicated and was under the age of 21," according to the police department's press release.

"During the course of this event, a hotel guest contacted the Vermont police to complain about the noise level of the function and to suggest the possibility of intoxicated minors," said Julia Schwartz '08, AZD's public relations vice president, in a statement Sunday. "When Hartford police responded to the call, they saw people in the lobby who appeared to be intoxicated. They were also aware that earlier in the night, a call had been placed on behalf of a formal guest who was unable to leave independently and in need of medical care," the statement said.

Schwartz's statement also claimed that, although officers questioned Hotel Coolidge's management about the presence of minors at the event, no minors were served alcohol at the formal.

The hotel did not return requests for comment.

"Despite this, the police decided to give Breathalyzer tests to all formal attendees under the age of 21," the statement said. "Because Vermont has a zero tolerance policy regarding underage drinking, they issued citations to those with a BAC level above 0.00."

Aside from issuing citations, though, police took no further disciplinary action at the formal, according to the statement.

"No arrests were made, nobody was taken into custody, and no guests were charged as being in possession of alcohol. All guests were permitted to leave on their own," the statement said. At press time, Schwartz did not respond to requests for further comment.

A male sophomore attendee, who wished to remain anonymous because he received a citation at the formal, said that although he did not drink after arriving at the Hotel Coolidge, there was alcohol present at AZD's Webster Avenue house before the bus to White River Junction left.

"We all met at AZD beforehand, and we were drinking at the sorority," the sophomore said. "It wasn't crazy, but there were a lot of drinks on the tables, and there was a lot of champagne."

The sophomore also said that while most of the students at the gathering drank responsibly, some attendees pushed their limits.

"A few girls got really drunk," he said. "There were supposed to be sober testers, but somehow these girls got onto the bus anyway."

The student also said when police arrived at the hotel, they made it seem as though they were only interested in making sure the students were safe.

"Once we got to the formal, everyone was eating and everything was going fine, but apparently there were a few girls throwing up in the bathroom," he said. "When the cops got there, they made it seem like it wasn't going to be a big deal, like they were only doing it for our safety."

In contradiction to AZD's statement, the sophomore also said that there were some underage students who weren't Breathalyzed.

"Some people actually got out of it -- they just sat on a chair and didn't go into the line, and the police didn't make them, even though they said that anyone under 21 had to do it. They kept telling us that they didn't want to be there, but then they gave everyone [who was found to have consumed alcohol underage] tickets anyway."

Nationally, AZD is an officially dry sorority.

"No chapter should dispense alcoholic beverages," says the national sorority's alcohol policy, listed on its website. "No alcohol should be permitted at any recruitment or new member functions, any Alpha Xi Delta ceremonies, or any official functions at which attendance is required."

The policy also states that storage and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in the chapter house.

"Failure to abide by law, regulation, policy, or [Alpha Xi Delta] standards may be cause for membership release, suspension of membership, or discipline of the chapter in accordance with such Alpha Xi Delta policies," the policy says.

While the College plans to look into Saturday's incident, it has not yet begun investigation.

"Basically I have nothing to add at this point," said College spokeswoman Laurel Stavis, adding that the College will be looking into the incident later this week.

All students who received citations on Saturday have the opportunity to have their tickets voided by contacting the Windsor County Diversion Board's Teen Alcohol Safety Program within 15 days, according to the Police Department's press release. Hartford Sergeant Brad Vail, who was listed as the contact on the press release, said he would not comment in the issue because he was not at the scene.