Saturday night brawl sends four Theta Chi members to hospital

Members+of+Theta+Chi+assulted+at+their+house+on+Bishop+Street

Photo by Kayla Kamil

An attack at the Theta Chi fraternity house on Oct 3. on Bishop Street in Oxford sends four members to the hospital.

By Kelly Marsella and Kayla Kamil

The Saturday night brawl led to the hospitalization of four fraternity members at Miami University. It’s currently being investigated as an aggravated burglary and felonious assault involving multiple offenders, according to the Oxford Police. 

Officers were dispatched to the Theta Chi Fraternity house, 310 Bishop St., at 11:23 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Reports say that several individuals had entered the house, knocked over tables and then went out back where they attacked members of the fraternity sitting around a bonfire. 

On an audio recording, the police dispatcher can be heard telling officers that several members of the fraternity were injured after being assaulted with a golf club and a baseball bat.

According to police, the victims were transported by ambulance to McCullough-Hyde Hospital to be treated for their injuries. All four have since been released, according to a statement released by the national office of Theta Chi.

In an email sent to all Miami students on Tuesday, Miami University Vice President for Student Life Jayne Brownell described the attackers as “a group of students,” but noted that the police investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made. Brownell also called the violence “appalling and senseless.”

Police have declined to comment on a possible motive for the attack and on social media accounts that claim the attackers included unspecified members of Miami’s football team. The incident report released by police includes the date, time and nature of the call, but little else. Left off the released report are the names of the injured and any statement from the responding officer about what he found or who he spoke to when he arrived at the scene. Such information is included in most police reports.

After a report describing the incident appeared on WLWT news, Oxford Police posted the following on the department’s Facebook page: 

Some of you may have seen a report on local news media of a large fight that occurred this weekend. We have received some inquiries on the incident and are unable to discuss the details because we are still investigating it.”

The post went on to say that police are investigating the case as aggravated burglary and felonious assault, both of which are serious felonies. 

“Cases like this involving so many people take time to investigate and we will give an update as soon as we have information. We ask for your patience while we work through the investigative process. If you have any information on this case, call Detective (Mark) Ledermeier at 513-524-5257,” the post said. 

The police posting ends by saying that police will have no further comment unless new information becomes available. 

As of Thursday evening, police have made no further comments.

Other information has been circulating throughout the community, including a blurry cellphone video of the fight taken by an unidentified person who was at the scene, which was included in the WLWT report. That video has been widely circulated on Twitter and other social media. Police and officials from Miami have declined to say if they have identified any of the assailants in the video or if they have even seen it. 

The fraternity provided the following statement, from spokesperson Ben Hill of the organization’s national office: “Theta Chi Fraternity is aware of the senseless, violent attack against members of the Gamma Kappa Chapter at Miami University. The Fraternity is relieved that all members injured by the assailants have been treated and released from the hospital. Theta Chi is waiting in earnest for the completion of the police investigation and looks forward to those responsible for this shocking attack being held accountable.” 

Carole Johnson, interim director of news and communications at the university, also stated that Miami was aware of the incident, and echoed Brownell’s message to students that the university will conduct its own investigation after the OPD investigation is complete. She declined to respond to questions as to who the attackers may have been.

“The Oxford Police Department is investigating the incident,” Johnson said. “The university is cooperating fully in the investigation. We hold our students to high standards of conduct and will not tolerate violence. Students who engage in off-campus misconduct face student disciplinary action up to and including suspension and dismissal.”

In the 34-second video of the attack, witnesses can be heard telling the attackers to “get the f— out of here” and to “relax” as they appear to chase and hit the victims in the yard outside the house. 

A post containing comments about the incident captioned “The Return of the Bash Bros” was uploaded to the football team’s official Instagram account on Sunday. 

The post has since been removed, and comments on the team’s account are now limited. 

Assistant Athletic Director Dave Meyer declined to comment on whether any members of the football program were involved in the incident. He referred all questions to Johnson.