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Columbia Suspends Three Drug Bust Fraternities

By Leslie Albrecht | December 9, 2010 12:32pm

By Leslie Albrecht

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Three Columbia University fraternities whose members were arrested in a drug bust Tuesday have been ordered to "cease all activities," including recruitment, initiation and any upcoming parties.

Columbia's Dean of Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger said he was temporarily suspending frats Psi Upsilon, Pi Kappa Alpha and Alpha Epsilon Pi while university officials investigated alleged drug dealing at the fraternities' West 114th Street houses.

Police arrested Psi Upsilon member Adam Klein, Alpha Epsilon Pi member Harrison David, and Pi Kappa Alpha member Jose Stephan Perez, all 20, on Tuesday after a five-month investigation dubbed "Operation Ivy League" during which investigators say undercover officers repeatedly bought cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, LSD and other drugs from them.

Investigators from the city's Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said they caught Klein, David and Perez on video dealing drugs out of their frat houses.

While the fraternities were on suspension, university officials would "assess the scope of the problem and what reforms may be necessary to address these issues," Shollenberger said in a statement.

A representative from Psi Upsilon's national organization would also conduct his own probe to determine whether Klein's frat brothers knew about the alleged drug dealing, said Psi Upsilon executive director Mark Williams on Wednesday.

Pi Kappa Alpha placed Perez, who also goes by the name Stephan Vincenzo, on "administrative suspension" and would consider whether to kick him out of the fraternity after his criminal case was resolved, the fraternity's national organization said in a statement.

Also arrested Tuesday were Columbia students Chris Coles, 20, who lives at the university's Intercultural House on frat row, and Michael Wymbs, 22, who lives in East Campus housing on Morningside Drive. The university will include Intercultural House in its investigation.

Wymbs and Klein posted bail and were released from custody on Wednesday. The others remain at the Manhattan Detention Center, according to the jail's website.

In a jailhouse interview with the Daily News on Wednesday, Coles said the charges against him were trumped up. "This whole thing has been exaggerated," Coles told the News.

When Coles was arrested, he told police he was selling drugs to pay his tuition to the pricey school, prosecutors said. He is charged with selling marijuana and was arrested with more than $900 in cash on him.