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UF sorority's raucous night at The Columbia



Vomit. Bar fights. Broken toilets. Sloppy drunkenness. My, how feminine and charming.

It seems a visit by a UF sorority to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City earlier this month turned into a scene that would appall Miss Manners, and now the chapter could face discipline.

About 250 UF students - Zeta Tau Alpha members and their dates - traveled from Gainesville to the historic restaurant the night of Oct. 11 for a semi-formal date night. By the time Columbia staff kicked them out, the group had vomited throughout the restaurant, engaged in fights, and stolen liquor from the bar, according to catering manager Caroline O'Connor.

She declined to comment further to the Gradebook, but said in an e-mail to UF President Bernie Machen:   "The group turned our 102 year old fine dining restaurant into a frat house."

O'Connor said 80 percent of the students, many of them underage, arrived drunk. Guys in the group broke a bathroom toilet and baby changing table and ripped a handle off the entrance door.

UF spokesman Steve Orlando said the national fraternity office is investigating the matter, as is UF's office of Greek affairs. The chapter has not yet been disciplined but could face sanctions, he said. In the meantime, UF administrators called the restaurant to apologize.

Read ahead for the Columbia e-mail to Machen:

I deeply regret having to report a rather serious complaint our facility has with your Zeta Tau Alpha organization.  Melissa Carr planned an event with our restaurant and bussed in a group from your school.  The group arrived in an intoxicated state, at least 80% percent.  Most of these students were underage as we carded everyone on arrival.  There was a fight between some of the guests and we had to call the police to stop this nonsense.  The group broke the toilet and baby changing table in the men’s room, ripped a handle of the entrance door and several people threw up in various parts of the restaurant.  The group turned our 102 year old fine dining restaurant into a frat house.  The students actually took a bottle of liquor from the bar that we had to take back from them.  I feel the entire group should be disciplined in some manner. We actually had them leave the restaurant earlier than there scheduled departure time as we cannot tolerate that type of behavior.  The police breaking up a fight in our restaurant is something we have never had happen and we are extremely disappointed in the behavior of your students.  Please contact me at your convenience if you wish to discuss this unfortunate situation.

Caroline O'Connor
Sales & Catering Manager
Columbia Restaurant - Ybor City
(813)248-4961 ext:21
[email protected]

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:24am]


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