Editor’s note: This story ran in The Easterner’s Volume 63, Issue 13 on January 25, 2012, and it was posted to the web on March 8, 2012.
By Dylan Coil
Ongoing investigations by Cheney Police and EWU will decide the legal and academic fates of three Eastern students belonging to the Sigma Nu fraternity who were booked on charges of drug possession after throwing a party Jan. 15.
According to Cheney Police Commander Rick Campbell, Cheney Police executed a search warrant to a house on Normal Parkway after responding to a call that a woman had been screaming and banging on doors in the area.
Inquiring about the distressed woman, two police officers approached the house where three current or former members of the Sigma Nu fraternity, Andrew D. Tucker, Kyle A. Hubly and Joseph L. Welsh, were throwing a late-night party, according to police reports.
According to the statement of arresting officer Sgt. Richard A. Beghtol, “When the officers knocked at the door to determine if there was anything wrong, a person answered the door and identified himself as the renter, the other occupants slammed the door.”
Beghtol applied to Spokane District Court Judge D. Wilson for a search warrant for the premises and provided copies of the warrant to each identified renter before the search began.
According to Campbell, the search turned up psychedelic mushrooms, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, pre-packaged drugs ready for sale, guns and large amounts of money totalling $803 in cash. Underage drinking was also believed to be
Beghtol’s statement said that police found evidence of drug use throughout the house along with paraphernalia that previously contained controlled substances, and that the “residence was clearly a drug house.”
Hubly, Tucker and Welsh are scheduled to appear at their arraignments Monday, Jan. 30, at the Spokane County Superior Court of Washington.
The university released a statement saying, “We are presently working with authorities to ensure we have a fuller account of what happened and are taking appropriate action regarding individual students.”
Members of Eastern’s Sigma Nu fraternity are currently being investigated to find out how much they knew about the behavior of their three fraternity brothers.
According to Dave Meany, Eastern’s media relations specialist, the university is in the process of interviewing members of the fraternity and reviewing past incidents. Once that process is completed, a full report will be filed.
“We have to look at the whole picture,” said Meany. “Student affairs is working on behalf of the university to determine the level of involvement from other members.”
Meany added that the fraternity in question has fully cooperated with the university so far throughout the investigation.
“Our chapter members will continue to cooperate with EWU, local police, and our national organization regarding the recent reports of three members engaging in illegal activity,” said EWU chapter president Taemin Um in a statement released by the National Sigma Nu Fraternity. “These members are being held accountable in accordance with our fraternity’s national bylaws so our chapter can take appropriate action.”
The national Sigma Nu organization has been working with Eastern’s local chapter in reviewing the case and has the ability to suspend membership rights but any expulsion from the organization would have to come from the local chapter level.
“We are currently in the process of reviewing the facts and considering taking action against the ndividuals,” said Tim Braddick, director of fraternal operations for the national Sigma Nu organization. “Action can take several forms. We look into any matters of potential safety or policy violations, or we may contact our alumni advisors. It varies from campus to campus.”
On top of any legal consequences the three students in question might face, the university has the right to enforce the student code of conduct because Greek organizations fall under student clubs, even though the incident occurred off campus and away from Greek row.
“The university will enforce the student conduct code off campus if it feels certain behaviors will reflect poorly on Eastern,” Meany said.
More information will be made available as the results of the investigation are revealed.