Victims of an assault at The Villas on Sycamore on Oct. 10 claim they were attacked by members of Sam Houston State University’s Alpha Delta Pi chapter.
Sophomore dance major Emma Hunter and Jaimie Lawless, 23, told Huntsville Police Department they were attacked by students affiliated with the sorority. However, SHSU ADPi Chapter President Martheya Nygaard and ADPi International President Tammie Pinkston deny the allegations that the assailants were sorority members or pledges.
According to Lt. Jim Barnes, HPD will begin its investigation today. The dean of students’ office and ADPi International are conducting their own investigations as well.
According to Lawless and Hunter, the two were out party hopping late Friday night when they were invited to a party at The Villas on Sycamore. When they arrived, they were reportedly questioned by partygoers and told to leave after 15 minutes.
“We were just trying to have a good time,” Hunter said. “We were not trying to cause [them] any grief. About 15 minutes [after we arrived], they start screaming, ‘everybody we don’t know, get the fuck out. You’re not wanted here.’”
As the two were leaving, Lawless claimed she was “sucker punched” in the back of the head and then pummeled by three to four more people.
“I had a giant gash,” Lawless said. “I have perforated ear drums, and there’s creaking in my rib cage. I also have three giant knots. I have to have and MRI and a chest scan. They did harm to me and if they had taken it any further, I would be dead. The organization does need to be held accountable for it.”
Hunter later joined in the fight to help Lawless, who she said eventually collapsed.
The party was not affiliated with Alpha Delta Pi, according to Pinkston.
“We’re very troubled by these serious allegations, and have been investigating this on our own for the past few days,” Nygaard said. “We do not see any ADPis on the disturbing video footage sent to us, and eyewitness accounts confirm that none of those involved were ADPi members. Only one ADPi new member was at the party earlier that evening and left before the assault took place.”
As the incident progressed, multiple HPD officers were dispatched to the scene under reports of mutual fighting, according to Barnes. However, no report was filed that night. Barnes said the reason no report was filed by on-scene officer Cody Perkins will come out as the investigation goes on.
However, Nygaard said the reason was none of the parties involved wanted to file charges then.
“The Huntsville police were there that evening and decided that it was a mutual fight involving intoxicated people, none of whom wanted to file charges at the time,” Nygaard said. “We hope that with the help of the Huntsville police, justice will be served quickly.”
Both Lawless and Hunter claimed they were attacked by “at least a couple members” of ADPi. They said they know this because they saw partygoers perform the ADPi hand gesture as they arrived.
Pinkston said while there was an ADPi member at the party, she was not involved in the fight.
“Based on what we’ve been able to uncover in our investigations, only one ADPi new member was present at the party that night, and she left before the assault began,” Pinkston said. “The party was at an off-campus apartment and was attended by a mix of non-Greek and non-SHSU students.”
A deluge of rumors about the fight flooded various social media, including Yik Yak, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after Lawless posted on Facebook calling out the sorority. Because of the nature of some of the posts directed at ADPi’s Twitter and Facebook accounts about the fight, the SHSU chapter was advised by their international affiliation to suspend the accounts until the investigation was closed.
More information will be made available as the investigation goes on. Follow the Houstonian for continuous comprehensive coverage.