Rice University Suspends Campus Parties After Annual Underwear-Themed Event Sends 7 to the Hospital

Two dozen other students were also treated for intoxication at the scene of the annual "Night of Decadence" party

<p>Getty</p> Rice University


Rice University

Rice University canceled all on-campus parties through next spring after seven students were hospitalized and more than two dozen required medical treatment following a “Night of Decadence” event late last month.

Administrators at the private university in Houston shut down the Oct. 28 underwear-themed party after medical resources became “overwhelmed,” The Houston Chronicle reported, citing Rice’s campus newspaper, The Rice Thresher.

Seven students were taken to local hospitals with issues related to intoxication, Fox affiliate KRIV-TV reported, while many more students were treated onsite.

"At the peak of the night, all of Rice and Houston's medical resources at [Night of Decadence] were becoming completely overwhelmed,” Wiess College Chief Justice Renzo Espinoza, a student body elected official, wrote in an email to his classmates last week, per The Rice Thresher. He added, “Any more stress on campus and city resources would have put us in a very bad position.”

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According to KRIV-TV, the university allows students over the age of 21 to consume “soft alcohol” — such as beer, wine and seltzers — before they enter the party. Students under 21 are prohibited from consuming alcohol at Rice, per Texas law.

Jeff Falk, Director of News and Media Relations, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Tuesday that the "Night of Decadence" would be placed on probation "with reduced capacity and enhanced safety protocols at future parties."

“The health and safety of our students is the top priority at Rice University," he added. "This past week, the university took prompt action and canceled campuswide public parties through spring break in response to the events at the Oct. 28 ‘Night of Decadence’ party."

Falk continued, “In addition, ‘Night of Decadence’ will be placed on probation, with reduced capacity and enhanced safety protocols at future parties. Pub nights at Rice’s student center will now be restricted to students 21 and older through spring break. A committee will also convene to review the university’s alcohol policy. Students in violation of the alcohol policy could face increased sanctions as Rice re-visits the rules.”

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“All students that were taken to the hospital for intoxication were released and returned campus. Those that were treated on-site were released and recovered in their rooms,” Falk confirmed.

It’s not the first time that the Night of Decadence, a popular Rice tradition celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has been in hot water.

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In 2012, 11 students were hospitalized after attending the event, according to the Chronicle.

In the wake of that incident, school officials sought to alter rules on alcohol and attendance at gatherings, per the newspaper.

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