UNH fraternity's charter revoked after drug raid

AP News
Posted: Nov 07, 2011 4:43 PM
UNH fraternity's charter revoked after drug raid

A University of New Hampshire fraternity where 11 students were arrested during a weekend drug raid had its charter revoked Monday by its national leaders.

Nine Alpha Tau Omega brothers were arrested on drug charges early Sunday at their fraternity house in Durham. Two others were charged with disorderly conduct, and police expect to make more arrests as the investigation continues. Deputy Police Chief Rene Kelley said Monday the men are accused of selling and possessing marijuana and prescription medication.

The fraternity already had been issued a five-year suspension by the university last month for alcohol violations, and national fraternity leaders had begun the process to revoke the chapter's charter last week. That process was accelerated after the raid and was expected to be complete Monday.

"The writing was on the wall a week ago," said Wyn Smiley, chief executive officer of Alpha Tau Omega, which has 135 chapters and 7,800 undergraduate members nationwide. "This is obviously not in keeping with ATO policy and practice."

Smiley said he has some concerns about police behavior after hearing from alumni and lawyers who have spoken to students who were at the house Sunday. Some have reported being woken up with guns pointed in their faces and being made to strip during the raid, he said.

"It strikes me as taking a sledge hammer to something that could've been solved with a hammer," said Smiley, who emphasized that he was not defending the accused students.

Kelley would not discuss details of the raid but said "absolutely not," when asked whether guns were pointed in students' faces or whether students were made to remove their clothing.

He said about 20 officers from Durham, UNH police and the New Hampshire Drug Task Force were involved in the raid. Laconia police provided a transport vehicle, and a police dog from Seabrook helped with searching the fraternity house, which later was closed for health and safety violations. Students who were charged with felonies have been suspended from the university.