Drunken Princeton students taken to hospital

February 9, 2009 6:01:20 PM PST
Twelve Princeton University students were taken to a hospital for drinking too much during an initiation weekend for off-campus eating clubs that have a history of overserving alcohol. University spokeswoman Emily Aronson said Monday that the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations between Friday and Monday was higher than it has been for past initiations, but she couldn't say how much higher because school officials were still reviewing past years' data.

She also said that the university was still sorting out how many of the students attended parties at off-campus eating clubs, which were holding recruiting and initiation events they call "bickering" over the weekend.

One of the clubs held a toga party after a screening of the movie "Animal House."

The Ivy League university is full of unique rituals - and the 10 eating clubs are among them.

The clubs, owned by alumni and located in a row of stately buildings just off campus, are coed social clubs at a university where fraternities and sororities are not formally recognized.

In 2007, Princeton's municipal prosecutor went after the clubs because of underage drinking. The presidents of three of them - Cloister Inn, Tiger Inn and Cottage Club - were charged with providing alcohol to minors when students needed medical attention after drinking there. The charges were later dropped and the clubs have remained open.

In 1988, two students were sentenced to 30-day jail terms after an initiation weekend in which 46 students received medical treatment for drinking too much.

This school year, Princeton is implementing a plan to reduce binge drinking among students, both on and off campus.

Aronson said a one-time increase in the number of students who received medical help for alcohol use doesn't indicate whether the new efforts are working.

Princeton Borough Police Lt. David Dudeck said Monday that the drinking incidents from the weekend were under investigation and no charges have been filed.


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