After a five-month investigation, five Columbia students were arrested in December for selling thousands of dollars worth of drugs out of fraternity houses and dorm rooms.
Alpha Epsilon Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Psi Upsilon, the three fraternities that four of the students belonged to, will not return to their brownstones on 114th Street in September, following sanctions from Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger, that included extended social probation and three-year improvement plans.
Harrison David, SEAS ’12, Chris Coles, CC ’12, Adam Klein, CC ’12, Jose Stephan Perez (known on campus as Stephan Vincenzo), CC ’12, and Michael Wymbs, SEAS ’11 have all plead not guilty to selling cocaine, marijuana, MDMA, Adderall, and LSD to undercover officers.
They face a total of 65 charges and have appeared in court three times this year. David was charged for a Class A2 felony for selling cocaine, facing a minimum of three years in prison. The other four face less serious charges.
Prosecutors say the students sold most of the drugs out of common areas and bedrooms of their fraternity houses on 114th Street. Drugs were also allegedly sold from rooms in the Intercultural Resource Center and East Campus. Altogether, the students had made nearly $11,000 in sales to undercover officers since July.
On the morning of Dec. 7, NYPD officers broke down doors in East Campus, the fraternity houses and the IRC to arrest the five students before most on campus had woken up.
Officers searched the students’ rooms and found an additional $2,000 worth of drugs, including 50 ecstasy capsules, Adderall pills, a half-pound of marijuana, and a bottle of LSD, which prosecutors say was applied to Altoids and SweeTarts.
“The students arrested today supplied dangerous substances to their friends and other students to turn a quick profit, but subjected themselves to risks, of which they were either ignorant or in denial. These students were playing with fire,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a statement after the arrest.
Shortly after the bust, Terry Martinez, dean of community development and multicultural affairs, was put in charge of conducting a review of the fraternities’ and IRC’s operations over the last four years.
“To this end and over the past several weeks, Student Affairs collected information including but not limited to a history of service and philanthropic activities, evidence of contributions to the greater community, Greek Judicial board records, academic and judicial records, and prior incident reports,” said a statement from Student Affairs, released in April, following Shollenberger’s decision on the fraternities.
“Throughout the review, it was always our goal to render a fair, impartial decision based on the feedback and information gathered as part of this comprehensive process.”
The IRC will not face any disciplinary action, following Martinez’s review.
“There were far fewer judicial issues with members of the IRC—significantly less—and significantly fewer issues with academic probation,” she said.
Loren Berman, JTS/GS ’12 and a fraternity member, said he and other Greeks feel the decision against the fraternities was unfair.
“The people who weren’t involved are getting penalized for what a few people did,” he said.
Others said they weren’t sympathetic towards the students who sold drugs.
“It’ll teach them a lesson,” Adam Herrada, GS, said in December. “Coming to Columbia for a degree, leaving Columbia to go to jail...you get involved with the wrong crowd, sooner or later it’ll catch up with you.”
Karla Jimenez contributed reporting.