11 hospitalized after Rice University party


Officials say the students may have been drinking too much alcohol.

At Rice University on Sunday, there were no signs of the raucous party that's a decades-old school tradition. But Saturday night, 11 students attending the annual Night of Decadence -- or NOD -- party were transported to the hospital. Jordan Joplin was there.

"Things always get crazy, crazier when you are in that type of environment, and you're in a college setting," Joplin said. "Halloweeen, you just get too much and people don't know when to stop."

University officials say all the students were transported for possible alcohol poisoning from Weiss College, the student dorm that hosts the annual party. There were more than a 1,000 attendees. Proper ID is required for alcohol at the party, and Rice says it was prepared for potential problems.

"This party is several decades old. It's a long tradition. It's been organized by the students for a while," said Dr. John S. Hutchinson, dean of undergraduates. "Because of that history, we have a good idea of the kind of things to watch out for."

The issue of student drinking isn't new for Rice. Just last year, the university instituted a temporary ban of liquor on campus to try to change the drinking culture. School officials say only beer and wine were served at this particular NOD party.

"We never encourage students to drink, that's clear," Hutchinson said.

The university says it is still looking into whether anything else other than alcohol contributed to the trips to the hospital. Some attendees believe more definitely needs to be done.

"I think at the end of the day, the most important thing is to decrease the number of people are going to the hospital and decrease the number that are underage drinking," Benjamin Chou said.

Officials don't know yet if any of the students hospitalized were underage. Those who were there say it's simply difficult to control what happens at a party of so many people.

"It's good times usually," Joplin said. "You have to be careful, people around you and that's the most important, you know how to handle it."

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