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Rice University officials sorting details of wild campus party

Monday, October 29, 2012

After nearly a dozen students got alcohol poisoning this weekend at a school-sponsored party at Rice University, the school is trying to learn more about why it happened.

We've been told the dean is expected to speak with some students and college staff about what happened at that raucous party on campus. It's a party, one guest told us, involved underage drinking.

"There was definitely underage drinking," Rice freshman Connor Leisz said.

Leisz was among the large crowd at the university-sanctioned Halloween party called "Night of Decadence." It's where 11 students allegedly drank too much booze and got sick Saturday night.

"It was a fun party at Weiss. It got a little out of hand with the alcohol. Some kids just don't know how to handle themselves," Leisz said.

The drinking lead to distractions when ambulances arrived on campus to treat some of the partygoers for possible alcohol poisoning. Those students were transported to the hospital.

It's an incident that now has many on the private campus buzzing.

"I think it goes a little far. Where I came from this was never a problem. And based on the track record of this happening, I think something needs to be done about it," Rice graduate student Paul Derry said.

We requested on Monday an on-camera interview about Rice University's alcohol policy. A campus spokesman told me it was a non-story.

However, the undergraduate dean, John Hutchinson, did speak to us briefly this weekend.

"Our policy on campus does prohibit students under the age of 21 from consuming alcohol. But for those students who are over the age of 21, under the appropriate structured conditions, they are allowed to have events where alcohol is served," Hutchinson said.

As the Rice drinking incident continues to make headlines across the country, at least one eyewitness had this to say:

"Obviously, it's the students fault for being hospitalized. It's their individual decisions. The university should not be responsible for their mistakes," Leisz said.

Students say the campus sent an email Monday reminding them to act responsibly when drinking.

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