News

‘Drunk idiots’ under investigation for allegedly swimming in lake

The pivotal win against Virginia Tech was not contained in Blacksburg alone, as victory celebrations reached Coral Gables Saturday night. The Rat was alive and buzzing with students clustered around the few televisions with functioning cable on campus. It was in the midst of the victory that three students allegedly jumped into Lake Osceola to express their enthusiasm.

Shortly after, a Facebook group detailing the incident emerged. The group, titled “I’m a drunk idiot and went swimming in Lake Osceola,” featured “drunk lake swimmers” Nicholas Gonzalez, 21, Kellen Horney and Leo Swayze, 22, as well as “professional instigator” Josh Layton, 21.

The Facebook group included an officer position of photographer, held by Jacqueline Coleman, 20, whose profile displayed a photo album labeled “VT Game/Boys in the Lake.”

Captions under the pictures, which featured each member of the group soaked and standing near the lake, made statements such as “after the dive in” and named those involved as “the water boys.”

Under Section VII of the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook, which lists disciplinary violations, “swimming in Lake Osceola or the adjacent waterways is prohibited.”

This incident comes almost four years to the day that freshman Chad Meredith drowned in Lake Osceola. Meredith, who was rushing for Kappa Sigma, went swimming in the lake with two fraternity members on Nov. 5, 2001, shortly after 5 a.m. Police later said Meredith’s blood alcohol level had been 0.13, almost twice the legal limit in Florida.

The dean of students’ office was notified of the incident Wednesday morning by a Resident Coordinator and could not comment on the situation, but Dean Gregory Singleton said it would be investigated.

The office of student affairs said Wednesday afternoon that it would be contacting the students involved in the alleged incident soon.

“The University is aware and we are investigating the situation. The University considers this a serious offense,” Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, said. “There are signs posted and this is not something we will tolerate.”

Swimming in the lake has been prohibited for more than 20 years, Whitely said.

The individuals in the Facebook group said they were unaware that discipline action would be involved in the situation until they were contacted by The Hurricane for comment.

“All my friends and I were joking around,” Horney, senior, said, referring to the group on the Facebook. “I wasn’t aware that it was a big deal, but we didn’t go into the lake.”

Horney also said the photos do not show students swimming in the lake.

“We just took our shirts off after the game,” he said.

Gonzalez, also a senior, said that being in a group on the Facebook didn’t imply any wrongdoing.

“I don’t know if I jumped in the lake,” he said.

The Hurricane attempted to contact Swayze and Layton, both seniors, leaving them voice messages Wednesday afternoon. The calls were not returned.

The Facebook group was removed shortly after 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Coleman’s photo album was also removed.

Possible sanctions on these students have not yet been detailed by the administration.

“It’s not fair to comment [on possible disciplinary action],” Whitely said. “We need to discuss with students first, but it will be very serious.”

According to the handbook, possible penalties listed for this violation are Final Disciplinary Probation, Strict Disciplinary Probation or a Disciplinary Warning. Final Disciplinary Probation, the worst penalty that could be received, lasts for the remainder of the student’s course of studies. If this probation is violated, the student could be sanctioned with suspension or expulsion.

Stacey Arnold can be contacted at s.arnold@umiami.edu. Patricia Mazzei can be contacted at pmazzei@miami.edu.

November 11, 2005

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

After this past University of Miami football game, coach Mark Richt said the crowd came alive during ...

The attorneys for University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga expect indictments to be ...

Few could have imagined this scenario coming into Saturday’s University of Miami football game at ho ...

Alex Cora’s success hasn’t surprised Miami Hurricanes baseball coach Jim Morris. Cora, according to ...

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Thursday: • Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has an interesting theor ...

Univeristy of Miami’s Wynwood Art Gallery holds its annual faculty exhibition featuring thought-prov ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

Behind a historic performance from senior Olga Strantzali, the University of Miami volleyball team b ...

Thirty years ago, the 1987 Hurricanes achieved perfection. This weekend they are back where it all b ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

The Miami women's tennis team opened play Friday at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships Pr ...

The Miami soccer team will conclude its 2017 home slate Sunday against Notre Dame and recognize its ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.