Cal Poly's chapter of Alpha Phi offered its support to the UCSB chapter Saturday after two women were shot and killed outside the UCSB chapter house's front lawn during a mass murder Friday. | Mustang News File Photo

The Cal Poly chapter of the Alpha Phi sorority  is under investigation after a freshman woman was sent to the hospital with alcohol poisoning early Thursday morning, Sept. 29.

The student, who wished to remain anonymous for her personal safety, said she went out with her “bear buddy” — a member of the sorority who acts as a temporary sponsor for the pledge — the night after she received her bid to join the sorority.

“On bid night, they had told us that we were going out with the ‘Phis’ — my bear buddy — so she told me and my other pledge that was with me that she was in charge of the two of us,” the student said. “(She) told us we were going out at 8 p.m. the next night and to ‘Be ready for a crazy night,’ and we were like ‘OK.’”

The pledge, who left Cal Poly’s campus at 9 p.m., said several Alpha Phi pledges and their “bear buddies” initially met at the Alpha Phi house then walked to a Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) affiliated house on Crandall Way.

She said when the pledges arrived at the house, the other party-goers there encouraged her to drink shots of vodka, which they were providing.

PIKE president and parks, recreation and tourism administration senior Eli Simon said the allegations made by the student are not true.

“The Alpha Phi girls, I believe, weren’t provided any alcohol from the PIKE guys,” Simon said.

The pledge said PIKE members later informed the group that they would go to another party on Hathway Avenue. There were many sororities and new pledges at the second party, the student said, as well as more alcohol and more encouragement to drink.

Simon said he cannot speak about what happened at either party because he was not present, but he said this did not occur.

The student said at this point of the party she was “pretty blacked out.” She said she remembers walking back with her “bear buddy” and the other pledge to the Alpha Phi house after the party. An older member asked her if she wanted to stay there, but she said she decided not to.

“I think (my ‘bear buddy’) should’ve made sure we got home, walked us completely home,” she said. “I do remember in my drunken state telling her I was perfectly fine, but I do think it would’ve been better.”

A group of 10 women then walked back to campus, she said. When she returned to her apartment in Cerro Vista, she said she was preparing to go to bed when she realized she needed medical attention.

“I went to get into bed, and then I just sat on the floor for a second and I was like, ‘This is bad,’” she said.

She then told her roommate to call 911 and her mother. She said that was the last thing she remembers before passing out, other than answering questions from the paramedics that responded to the scene.

“I was blacked out, (then) woke up in (Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center) the next day,” she said. “The police officer came in with the doctor and said, ‘You were in here for alcohol poisoning, and they’re running a hazing investigation.’”

Cal Poly officials scheduled meetings with her the next day as part of the investigation, which she said she fully cooperated with.

The student said blame cannot be placed on a single individual or organization as to what happened to her that night.

“I think that, in this situation, it shouldn’t be all placed on Alpha Phi,” she said. “I don’t think that’s fair at all. But … in my particular situation, it was Alpha Phi’s job to take care of me. And even though I am 18 and I am in charge of my own life, I don’t think it should look as though all responsibility should be placed on the fraternities and sororities for what happened to me.”

“Obviously some of it was personal choice,” she said. “(People at the parties) weren’t tying me down and forcing alcohol down my throat, but they were putting a great deal of pressure on me to drink alcohol, and it was just constantly being poured for me.”

The student decided not to pledge after that night.

Student Life and Leadership (SLL) began its investigation into the sorority after a “concerned parent” contacted Cal Poly about Alpha Phi’s involvement, SLL director Stephan Lamb said. The freshman confirmed the “concerned parent” was her mother, who made the call with an inquiry to the school after contacting Alpha Phi and receiving no response.

“Anytime we get a concerned parent or a written report from the police, we investigate,” Lamb said.

That investigation has involved interviewing members of Alpha Phi, as well as members of PIKE that were present. The fraternity was not responsible for the sorority pledge’s consumption of alcohol, Lamb said, but he said he is still investigating “to what extent was this an organized act of the sorority.”

Lamb’s investigation also seeks to establish whether the Alpha Phi pledge’s trip to the hospital is the result of a hazing ritual. Lamb said there haven’t been any incidents like this with Alpha Phi in recent history.

“Because we’re talking about a new member, (hazing) is always something that needs to be considered,” Lamb said.

According to the Cal Poly greek life policy on hazing, hazing is defined as “any activity that causes physical or emotional harm, degradation or humiliation during initiation into a student organization. The various actions that may constitute hazing, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate, include binge drinking, sexual harassment and assault, ridicule, sleep or food deprivation, personal servitude, physical beatings, emotional distress, embarrassing outfits or actions in public or water intoxication.”

The student said, although she is not familiar with the definition of hazing, others have told her they felt hazing occurred at the parties.

While the investigation is under way, Alpha Phi has been ordered to cease and desist all sorority activities. The judicial hearing, which is scheduled for this Thursday, will determine Alpha Phi’s responsibility and the university’s subsequent reaction.

“There will be a response from the university,” Lamb said. “What that response depends upon is how they act in the judicial hearing and what aspects of the event are on record.”

Until the judicial hearing has taken place, the consequences to Alpha Phi are unknown, SLL greek life director Diego Silva said.

“A judicial hearing has everything from — worst off — being suspended or disaffiliated, to nothing at all,” Silva said.

Alpha Phi representatives did not respond to Mustang Daily attempts to contact for comment.

The investigation comes nearly three years after the death of Carson Starkey, a Cal Poly freshman who died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity entrance ritual.

Since Starkey’s death, the university and local law enforcement have made efforts to reduce underage drinking-related casualties, including making the emergency room at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center a “safe zone” for intoxicated minors seeking help.

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong said in an email statement this latest incident involving Alpha Phi indicates how little progress has been made, despite efforts.

“It’s disheartening that we don’t seem to be learning from past experiences,” Armstrong wrote. “Alcohol is very dangerous. It impairs judgment, leads to poor decision-making and not only ruins lives but, as we also know, it can also kill.”

But safe zones and presentations on the dangers of binge drinking are not always enough, University Police Department chief Bill Watton said.

“For us, (underage drinking) is always a problem,” Watton said. “That’s why we do so many presentations for freshmen. We do spend a lot of time and energy trying to get to our students.”

After Starkey’s death, SLL took its own steps to prevent illegal underage drinking, including forbidding freshmen to pledge fraternities until their second quarter at school.

This policy was not applied to sororities because statistically they have far fewer incidents of underage drinking, Lamb said.

“In national statistics from coast to coast, it’s the fraternities that by-and-large are the larger problem,” Lamb said. “We’re not discriminating because of gender; we are basically taking action because of high risk.”

In light of the recent hospitalization of the sorority pledge, SLL might look at a similar policy for sororities, Lamb said.

“It raises the issue for reconsideration,” Lamb said.

After presstime, Alpha Phi International issued this statement to the Mustang Daily:

A new member of Alpha Phi was transported to the hospital after she requested that her roommate call for assistance. Alpha Phi International has substantially completed its investigation into this report and has determined that its members did not engage in hazing. The chapter has cooperated fully with the investigation. Alpha Phi does not condone hazing in any form, and it has a very high standard for conduct in this area. All members who had any knowledge of the incident were interviewed, and if appropriate brought before individual judiciary board hearings. Alpha Phi International will be requiring the chapter to complete a number of educational terms to reinforce its risk management education.

Victoria Billings, Jennifer Young, Erin Hurley and Josh Friedman contributed to this article.

This article has been updated to reflect the correct date of the judicial hearing for Alpha Phi. It is Thursday, not Friday.

Join the Conversation


  1. It’s a sorority, not a babysitter. Time to grow up. She basically admitted not being able to manage her own safety. Daddy isn’t here to hold your hand anymore, face the music kid – you’re making the rest of us Greeks look bad.

    1. You make yourselves look bad, and your comments certainly don’t help. As a Multi year Cal Poly student this is not the first time the Greeks have messed up, so look in the mirror and stop blaming everyone else for your screw ups!

  2. Let’s be honest, this girl was probably begging for shots. It’s really easy to say you were pressured to get “blacked out” when you have to tell your parents about your little ambulance ride.

    The Mustang Daily has become, with its publishing of these articles, nothing more than a cheap gossip rag. I guess the journalism students are learning one thing: how to tell completely biased and uninformed stories.

    1. The name of the freshman female involved has been removed from the above comment to preserve the student’s anonymity. The Mustang Daily does not make it a policy to edit comments, except in cases in which the comment poses a direct harm. For more information on our web comments policy, feel free to contact us at —Kaytlyn Leslie, Mustang Daily editor-in-chief

    2. Ya Boy… about you articulate like a “Cal Poly student” if you think you are so superior to JC students. Your crass insults to JC students and ***** is embarrassing.

    3. Please for the sake of all Cal Poly Students articulate your comments to the standard of “US” superior CSU Students. Your crass comment to ****, as well as your insult to JC Students is an embarrassment.

    1. To inform the Cal Poly and SLO communities about a newsworthy event. Like it or not, Poly has a history with Greek incidents and the fact that Pres. Armstrong, Police Chief Watton and others have commented should be an indicator that this article does, in fact, have a point (and is relevant).

  3. So you can talk shit about the alpha phi girls in this article but not the girl who ran around the party screaming that she drank all the time in high school and loved to party. Check out her Facebook. Daddy’s little girl looks pretty naughty to me.

  4. Incidents such as Carson Starkey’s death have taught the Greeks a lot, contrary to what the community and non Greeks on campus may think. When new members join a sorority or fraternity, many discussions are held on how to keep new members safe and not feel pressured drink.
    There is a wide variety of members in the Greek community and not all are “binge drinkers” or drink at all. This young lady may state she felt pressured to drink, but in reality we are in 2011 and in San Luis Obispo. NOBODY hazes here anymore. The point being, it is very unlikely the girl felt pressured to drink from members. If she felt this way she should have took responsibility for herself and removed herself from the situation. Greek houses go to great lengths to make new members feel welcomed and safe, pressuring them to drink is not one of them.

    1. Reality check….. hazing happens, and is happening. unfortunately, many don’t know realize what they are doing until someone gets hurt. Be aware and get the facts!

        1. Alpha Phi released a statement saying there was no hazing?! No way!! Wow, that’s good enough for me! LOL. You act like this is some completely unexpected event. Instead, this is a big “DUH!” moment. Of course headquarters came out quickly to dispel rumors and support this chapter. Not because they give a crap about the lushes in the actual house, but because they don’t want to spend national funds defending the “kwality” girls in this house. Nationals is doing what nationals need to do–self preservation. Read between the lines if you want the real dish on what Nationals said and didn’t say. They didn’t say that bear buddy and her active friends are without responsibility. They didn’t say it was ok to plan a night for a pledge where alcohol would be involved. They certainly didn’t give the “all clear”….they simply came out quickly to hopefully make the all damaging “hazing” word go away.

  5. Sororities hazing? That’s a cute concept. As an advocate for women’s rights (these types of groups specifically), alpha phi should not kicked off campus based on this girl (with all do respect, it’s not fun feeling “pretty blacked out” and all). As president Armstrong stated that yes it is disheartening to see students endangering themselves with alcohol consumption. But how do you control individuals making poor decisions? You can’t. She chose to drink large amounts & to walk home, when she was told to stay. Peer pressure happens all the time from ages 2-90. Just say no. I once tried to give my grandma a shot but she said no, and tossed it in grandpas’ Metamucil. Easy peezzyyy!

    she flat out told her bear buddy she was okay.
    Yes, she is a member of Alpha Phi but if every member of Alpha Phi or any sorority for that matter placed all their problems or mistakes THEY made on their house. sororities would no longer exist.
    fuck ***.
    she is a dumb bitch who had to figure out a way to explain her ambulance ride to daddy.

    1. The name of the freshman female involved has been removed from the above comment to preserve the student’s anonymity. The Mustang Daily does not make it a policy to edit comments, except in cases in which the comment poses a direct harm. For more information on our web comments policy, feel free to contact us at —Kaytlyn Leslie, Mustang Daily editor-in-chief

    2. You definitely make a case as to why sororities shouldn’t exist in their current form. They are supposed to be a sisterhood, not a take out the bit**-hood. Way to raise us
      above this.

    3. Awww. Isn’t that sweet. One of her former sorority sisters, coming on here to show how classy she is. Everyone listen up….Alpha Phi is so classy their members turn on each other at the drop of a hat…nice ladies. Now, which day of rush did you eval potential new members for their ability to claw their “sisters” eyes out?

  7. This is so disheartening. I’ve been a member of Greek Life the past 3 years. Cal Poly has continued to take the actions of a select few and punish entire groups who work so hard to be a positive part of the community through philanthropy, community service, fundraising etc.

    In my sorority we constantly promote sisterhood and “sober fun”. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in greek life that is constantly ignored. There is so much good, but emphasis is only ever placed on the bad. Each sorority received a pledge class of SEVENTY-THREE girls. The sheer number of girls to become suddenly responsible for is overwhelming. Obviously if close to 700 girls rushed this year, they must have seen that we offer more than just a social circle. The minute these girls became a part of our family we emphasized over and over to be responsible, know your limits, never do anything you dont want to do, alert an older member if you feel uncomfortable or want to go home, and above all understand that ONE persons actions reflect an entire house of 150 girls. I feel so sorry for Alpha Phi because I’m sure that they go through these same meetings and say the same things.

    This is an example of a girl not understanding the implications of being a member of a sorority, and that her actions could take down an entire house that has been on Cal Poly’s campus since the 70s. It seems to me that Cal Poly wants to be rid of greek life, and they continue to not show their support for us or any of the wonderful things we do. This is a huge mistake, because as demonstrated, hundreds and hundreds of girls come to Cal Poly seeking sisterhood.

    It is not Aphi’s fault that 1 girl of 73 did not know her limit and did not take personal responsibility for herself. Put down the damn shot glass. Its all about choice. It will be so disappointing if Aphi was to loose their charter because a girl was ashamed to tell her parents that she was irresponsible.

    Young cal poly students are going to the hospital every weekend, but it only makes breaking news when they are a member of a sorority or a fraternity. Doesn’t that seem a little biased?

    I hope the mustang daily will do a better job in being more objective and that Stephen Lamb and SLL will not ruin the experience of Greek Life for everyone, based on the mistakes of a small handful of people.

  8. How did this girl get into cal poly?

    If she decided to stop pledging the day after this happened why does she STILL have a fbook profile picture smiling holding A Phi letters with other pledges?… And if she’s so concerned about her privacy why isnt her Facebook private?

    This girl is cray. Has anyone asked if maybe this alcohol she was “pressured” to drink just reactive negatively with her antipsychotic meds?

    If she’s 18 and “in charge of her own life” why does she not once take any responsibility for what she did to herself?

    She remembered quite a lot of details from the night for being blacked out. I dont even remember that many details when I go out sober. Bet it’s gonna be a real laugh when we find out her BAC level for the night.

  9. This in no way to me seems like any sort of hazing ritual. It was a party with alcohol involved, not much different from the ones many people have been attending since high school. I’m not going to say the sorority was to blame or was not to, but I feel like in this situation, it was an individual decision to drink. Part of being an adult, and seemingly every college student likes to believe they are one even when their behavior strongly suggests otherwise, is taking responsibility for your own actions. This girl does admit that she made a mistake, but even if others were pressuring her to drink, they were not forcing the alcohol down her throat. Sure, the hosts of the parties offered alcohol, but it doesn’t seem like they made anyone do anything they didn’t want to, so I don’t think they should be punished. Hopefully this girl learned an important lesson, and by sharing her story, made others a little more aware of the possible consequences of drinking too much.

  10. The student said at this point of the party she was “pretty blacked out.” She said she remembers walking back with her “bear buddy”

    So she was blacked out but she “remembers” walking back? Correct me if im wrong but a blackout is when you dont remember anything.

    “I do remember in my drunken state telling her I was perfectly fine”

    If alpha phi had held her at the house against her will wouldnt that have been considered hazing too?

    “I went to get into bed, and then I just sat on the floor for a second and I was like, ‘This is bad,’”

    She made it home safe and was out of aphi’s care at this point.

    And at the drunkest point of her night “the last thing she remembers before passing out”… wait go back. she was blacked out, about to pass out, and she remembers what she was thinking?

    I sense some inconstancies with this story.

    1. You sense some inconsistencies with this story? Yoda, is that you? Are you feeling the Force? You sound like a legal wannabe (daddy or mommy an attorney I bet) who thinks she can destroy this girl’s reputation by pointing out that when one is as loaded as she apparently was, things often don’t make sense. But you know what makes sense and is easily verifiable….who GAVE her (handed it to her, bought it, etc.) an 18 year old alcohol in the first place? Who PLANNED to take an 18 year old out on a crazy night involving alcohol? Uh oh. Start answering those questions and you’ll see that regardless of whether a drunk girl can remember particular details of a reckless night, there will always be people around the bear buddy that will confirm her plans, intentions and preparations.

      As far as being out of APhi’s care when she got home…? Again, your ignorance is showing. You don’t get to provide alcohol to a minor and wipe your hands clean when she leaves your presence. Sorry Charlie. Liability still squarely remains with the negligent parties that got her in to the situation in the first place.

      Time to be quiet now. You are embarrassing yourself and your house.

      1. I am pretty sure at college you can get alcohol at any party. It is a personal choice whether one decides to go out at night or not, or to drink or not. One should be mature enough at college to confide in someone or remove themselves from situations if they are uncomfortable. At parties shots are always being poured, that does not mean that you NEED to drink it if it is in front of you. If you do not feel comfortable make up some dumb excuse or just walk away.

        It sounds like she got herself into the situation in the first place and should be liable. Going out at night is not an organized event by a sorority. When you go out in a group with your friends are they liable if you get too intoxicated?

  11. Let’s not all be dumb. Greek life that’s not attached to the “professional” fratenities and sororiteis is ALLLLLL partying with a couple SMALL philanthropy, community service, and fundraising activities mixed in to give them some merit. I’m not so sure it was hazing, but what did she expect. Come on now…

    1. The sad part of all this is that none of you understand what hazing is and how it screws everyone from the victim(s) to the people doing it. Peer pressure is powerful and we all know it. You may think you are above it, and its easy to sit at your computer and judge. Collectively if you would all stop bitching and blaming and focus on the actual issue that has come up many times before this….than maybe the Greeks wouldn’t be singled out and “attacked”. Learn the facts…….hazing hurts everyone.

  12. Clearly this girl has no integrity and is a complete coward. She is jeopardizing an entire sorority, and Greek life as a whole, in order to save face for her parents. It’s sad that her parents are naive enough to actually believe that she doesn’t drink or party, yet she joined a sorority… Yes- not everyone parties in Greek life, but let’s be real. The facts of this girl’s story don’t add up and what this all boils down to is a lack of personal responsibility. Please, for the sake of the sorority and the Greek community, quit crying wolf and admit to your wrongs: you got too drunk on YOUR OWN ACCOUNT and lied to mommy and daddy in order to maintain your goody-two shoes reputation with them.

    1. Wow! So you know it all then?

      So you have a window into her conversations, and relationship with her parents. You have information about that night that allows you to state that that the facts just don’t add up… even know that she lied to her family to save her own skin. In fact, all of this information that you have you feel gives you the right to defame her character. Well then, please call the Mustang and give them your all of your information, because you seem to think you know more than anyone else involved.

      1. Grow Up can’t call the Mustang Daily and tell them anything because it would expose her as a leader in the chapter and it would make a further mockery of her and her sisters.

        If APhi would put a moratorium on all their idiot members coming on here and bashing this incident, it would be a good start toward rehabbing their reputation. There are so many people at the party that could turn on them if they don’t stop trying to blame it on the new member. They have no idea how bad this could get if they don’t start showing a little responsibility for their actions.

        Bear buddies plan crazy nights out with their new member so they can show her off (oooh, look at how cute our new pledges are! Even when they are hurling on the grass and walking around with their skirts up over their butt). If APhi doesn’t call back their attack dogs, they might find that other greeks present that night will start talking, so as to preserve themselves….even if they have to throw APhi under the bus.

    2. I wonder how many more of this girl’s former APhi sisters will come on here and bash her for her decision? It speaks volumes that “grow up” has it all boiled down to “no integrity” and “cowardliness”. Yes, she is jeopardizing an entire sorority–but that’s their fault, not hers. If the idiot bear buddy hadn’t planned out this night and planned to get her potential little sis drunk (because that’s what bear buddies are doing….evaluating new members for their little sis) and show her a good time, none of this would have happened. There are enough former greeks in the Daily and in administrative offices on campus to start digging in to APhi’s verifiable history with social probations based on alcohol-related events. Over the last decade this particular chapter has had their social events restricted or cut for numerous quarters at a time as a result of irresponsible behavior. Fact, not fiction. Don’t believe me? Start looking in to it. Greek life keeps records of all chapter probations and suspensions. The poor new members of this chapter (as well as many of the newer initiates) are probably in the dark as to the hot water this chapter regularly finds itself in. Start digging ladies. The truth will come out.

  13. “K” — obviously you’re ***’s mother. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be so defensive on a forum where everyone is freely posting their opinions and ideas.

    Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve attended college, but you need a serious reality check. And maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to judge the Greek community, which you obviously know so little about.

  14. “crass?” sounds like old-school vocabulary from a different generation.. I sense a family member vehemently coming to the defense of *****.

    Let people post their opinions- everybody’s entitled to one. Chill out on the rebuttals, “K.”

  15. Alright kids, sorry to interrupt your little jib-jab session, but I’m wondering what evidence there was that the pledge in question actually had “alcohol poisoning?” It’s in the lede of the story, and then mentioned again only as what she said a police officer told her. I would hardly consider that an expert medical opinion. Could you please clarify, editors?

    Also, this girl’s description of her blackout seems to include a lot of “all I remember is…” followed by a description of exactly what happened. As someone who has blacked out many a time, this does not sound like a “blackout.” It is very different to be drunk and pass out than to have no recollection whatsoever of the night’s events beyond the point of inebriation. Shoddy reporting, I’d say, to quote only the alleged victim and people who were not present.

    As to the shit fit the Greeks are throwing, get over yourselves. This is a newspaper, not a Twitter page, so obviously news like this will be reported. Furnishing alcohol to minors is illegal, I would think you’re lucky not to be looking at huge fines from the pigs. Maybe keep a better eye on the 18-year-olds next time, and try to sober them up a little before sending them home. It seems to me this all could have been avoided with some drunken munchies and good ol’ H2O.

  16. haha she just tonight took off her alpha phi pictures from bid night on facebook… Very poor situation control on her and her families part. This girl is wild and dumb. consider transferring?

  17. First off, she said everything in the paper. She was told to stay at alpha phi. If alpha phi kept her at the house wouldn’t that be considered hazing? This is ridiculous because one girl not taking personal responsibilities for her actions is not only hurting alpha phi but the Greek community as a whole. We join sororities and fraternities to meet new people and have a special bond with one another. If it just were for partying sororities wouldn’t exist because let’s face it, girls get in everywhere. She really ruined reputations at cal poly and I really do hope cal poly realizes this was all a she cried wolf story. Take responsibility for your actions!

  18. Everyone needs to stop making false accusations and attacking people on here, whether their opinion seems wrong or right. No one knows the full story besides the house, the student, and any other officials involved. It is an unfortunate situation and everyone has their right to their opinion but don’t assume what you don’t know.

  19. Lock it up! If you know you’re blacked out; you’re probably not. Go back to high school, learn to say no, and grow some cajones. Love, COMPETENT CAL POLY STUDENTS

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