NEWS

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November 2, 2004

Ugly fight, wounds follow Alpha Delt party

A disagreement after an Alpha Delt party turned ugly, leaving one student hospitalized with a stab wound early in the morning of Saturday, October 23. The student has since been released, and is expected to recover.

The fight occurred about half a block from the fraternity house on University Avenue at 58th Street around 2:30 a.m.—shortly after the party ended.

According to James McNulty, president of Alpha Delta Phi and a fourth-year in the College, the fight occurred on the lawn in front of the Math/Stat building at 5727 South University Avenue.

The victim, Eric Richards, is a fourth-year in the College. Richards left the Alpha Delt party as it ended, McNulty said. Richards smashed the rear window of a car parked on University Avenue and a fight began between Richards and a few other men.

Richards was stabbed, probably with a broken bottle, according to several people familiar with the incident. Eventually, people in the vicinity broke up the fight. Richards then left the scene without anyone realizing he was injured, McNulty noted.

Sheila Yarborough, associate dean for student affairs, refused to name Richards as the victim, though she confirmed that the victim was a student at the University.

She added that the student was severely injured and eventually arrived at the emergency room of the University of Chicago hospitals. "It was serious," Yarbrough said. "However, he was treated and released several days later." She confirmed McNulty's version of events, though she said she was not aware of the smashed car window.

McNulty was not sure if the men who stabbed Richards attended the frat party. The frat is cooperating with police to arrest the perpetrators, whom McNulty said are probably not Chicago students.

McNulty emphasized that the altercation did not occur at the Alpha Delt party, but rather, outside, and after the party. Yarbrough also distanced the frat from the stabbing, saying that the administration's understanding of events was that the fight "did not occur inside the Alpha Delt fraternity."

Rudy Nimocks, director of the University of Chicago Police Department, said that police arrived on the scene of the stabbing only after Richards arrived at the emergency room and the hospital notified police that a violent incident had taken place. Nimocks refused to provide Richards' name, but confirmed the general account of events. According to Nimocks, who declined to give specific information, the city police are conducting an investigation.

Yarbrough said that there were several witnesses. "One witness was not a student from this campus," she said.

Yarbrough said that she has never heard of anything like this happening before, and that this is a new situation for the University. "Bill Michel and his staff are discussing the procedure for parties in general, and Dean [Susan] Art is assisting the student," Yarbrough said. "We have offered support to the student. The police are investigating. It's something that we take very seriously."

McNulty admitted that situations of this type are hard to avoid. "It is an unfortunate part of college social life that fights are bound to happen from time to time," McNulty said. "We can try, however, to limit the extent of these disputes. At our parties, we employ a security guard to assist in diffusing situations."

Addressing the concern that students might worry about attending frat parties, McNulty said, "We must be able to ensure that people who come to our parties simply looking to have a good time are not put in compromising situations. Students need to be able to release some of the stress of their studies in a fun, relaxed environment."

He added, with respect to the possibility that the perpetrators were not Chicago students, "Keeping parties limited to the student population has become a high priority."