Is ASU turning from a party school to a 'hangover' school?

TEMPE, AZ - After another high profile violent incident, some are wondering what Arizona State University officials are doing to combat the binge drinking Tempe police say is leading to more serious crimes.

Just this week, a 19 year old ASU student was found beaten with eight fractures to his face in what he tells police could be fraternity related.

It's just one of many high profile crimes in less than a year.

In November 2012, fraternity member Jack Culolias drowned after attending a fraternity/sorority event.

In March 2013, two women were burned at a fraternity party after someone threw a bottle of liquor into a bonfire.

In April 2013, five people were arrested for a brawl at an apartment complex that houses a fraternity.  It was the second fight to break out.

In May 2013, a fraternity member was left unconscious at a local emergency room after a drinking contest. Police say he had a 0.47 blood alcohol content after allegedly drinking 20 tequila shots.

"In my opinion there certainly has been a change of tone," said attorney James Arrowood with the Frutkin Law Firm.

We sat down with Arrowood who founded the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in California, the same fraternity the ASU student who was beaten belongs to.

Arrowood, a civil lawsuit attorney, said if ASU doesn't show they're working on the issues, they could find themselves the target of a lawsuit.

In Arrowood's opinion ASU maybe be going from a party school to what he calls a "hangover" school, referring to the popular movie where members of a bachelor party go on a drinking binge that leads to a night of violence.

"Which is, we went from having the fun of drinking and going to games and things like that to kind of what happens next. Unfortunately, we're seeing violence, we're seeing some of the aftermath of that," explained Arrowood.

But students now attending ASU say they're seeing the opposite on campus even with the string of violent crimes -- most involving fraternities.

"I don't think they're going towards a violent reputation and I think they're trying to move away from the party reputation," said Jared Mitchell, a current ASU student.

"I feel like I see a lot of police around, so they're taking more precautions," said student Emily Dawson.

Students also said they're seeing a big push to focus on academics.

We pressed Arizona State University for answers and they issued this statement:

"Arizona State University's priority is the safe environment of our students, whether on campus or off, to thrive academically. Students know what is expected of them as outlined by the Student Code of Conduct and by state and federal law. All alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct are investigated by the university and, if a violation is found to have occurred, appropriate sanctions are applied. The university does not tolerate behavior inconsistent with our mission as an educational institution. This isolated, off-campus incident does not represent the more than 76,000 students who work hard every day to reach their academic goals at the university."

ASU officials also told us they've taken several measures this fall, including ASU police visiting 11 apartment complexes to discuss student conduct, binge drinking and safety.  

They have also implemented new guidelines for fraternities and sororities to follow and have banned troubled organizations.

Arrowood says it will take time to turn around ASU's reputation.

Print this article Back to Top