May 7, 2014 in Idaho, Region

WSU sorority faces charges over public urination

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Washington State University will charge a sorority with disorderly conduct and alcohol violations after a group of students were seen and photographed urinating in a downtown Coeur d’Alene park last Saturday before boarding a cruise boat.

The WSU chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, which sponsored the Lake Coeur d’Alene outing, will be charged with violations of the university’s student conduct standards, WSU Dean of Students Melynda Huskey said today.

Megan Taylor, president of the Gamma Eta chapter, was notified that the chapter will face the charges after the university received complaints that intoxicated WSU students were observed stepping off a chartered bus and urinating in City Park in full view of park visitors, including children.

An officer with the 144-year-old organization’s national headquarters responded today to the incident.

“Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity expects our members to maintain the highest standards of personal and social conduct and to represent the Washington State University Greek community with dignity,” Vice President Elizabeth Bailey said. “The Fraternity, along with local alumna advisers, has acted swiftly to investigate the incident and we are working cooperatively with Washington State University.”

Kappa Kappa Gamma, founded in 1870, and some of the other earliest sororities still refer to themselves as fraternities.

Taylor did not return messages seeking comment.

Huskey said WSU’s initial review found that the chapter sponsored the lake cruise and chartered six buses the students were on.

“We have established that WSU students were involved in the public urination incident and the WSU Office of Student Standards and Accountability has sent notice of charges to the president of the sorority,” Huskey said. “Additional disciplinary actions may be taken as more information becomes available to us, particularly if we are able to confirm the identities of individual students.”

She said if students and student organizations are found responsible, they face a variety of possible sanctions under WSU’s student conduct code, ranging from warnings and probation to mandatory community service and suspension or expulsion.

Witnesses in the park said they saw students wearing “Wazzu Greek” sweatshirts urinate on the back wall of the Museum of North Idaho building in the park. First, three men relieved themselves, followed by five or six women, in full view of the public, they said. Students also were seen vomiting in the park, and one female burst into a men’s restroom exclaiming she needed access to a stall.

The sorority was singled out because it was the sponsor of the trip, but individual students – male or female – also may be charged with student conduct violations, said Robert Strenge, assistant director of WSU News.

“We’re hoping that additional information will come forward as that investigation takes place,” Strenge said. “I can’t say that these are the only charges that will be filed.”

The investigation could lead to charges of lewd or indecent behavior, public intoxication, minor in possession of alcohol or furnishing alcohol to a minor, he said.

Sorority officers will be summoned to a disciplinary hearing before the university’s Office of Student Standards and Accountability.

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