Northwestern University Suspends Fraternity Events After Drugging Allegations at 2 Frat Houses

·4 min read
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on the campus of Northwestern University
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on the campus of Northwestern University

Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on the campus of Northwestern University

Northwestern University has suspended the social events for multiple fraternities after two of them had alleged drugging incidents occur at their on-campus housing, according to the college newspaper.

Northwestern University's Police Department reported the two incidents in back-to-back crime notices issued on Friday and Saturday.

The first one stated that the University "received separate reports" from individuals claiming that they were "drugged without consent while attending a gathering at 584 Lincoln St. in Evanston."

Just one day later, the police department issued another notice, revealing that another individual had come forward with allegations that they were "drugged without consent at a gathering [Friday] night at 2325 Sheridan Rd. in Evanston."

Though police did not identify who or how many people were involved, they confirmed that both reports stemmed from on-campus fraternity houses.

The Daily Northwestern later reported the houses belonged to the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity on Lincoln Street and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity on Sheridan Road.

fraternities on the campus of Northwestern University
fraternities on the campus of Northwestern University

Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Fraternities on the campus of Northwestern University

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In a statement to PEOPLE, Alpha Epsilon Pi spokesperson Jonathan Pierce says the fraternity was "horrified by these stories."

"Our understanding is that the people responsible ARE NOT and HAVE NEVER been members of AEPi," the statement says, adding that they are "cooperating fully" with the University's investigation. "As soon as they became aware of this, our Brothers acted in the best interest of those affected by providing care and comfort to the victims to the extent they could and turning over all information to the proper officials. If proven guilty, those perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

Sigma Alpha Epsilon also issued a statement regarding the allegations to PEOPLE.

"The Fraternity Service Center of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has issued a cease-and-desist on its chapter at Northwestern University to continue reviewing recent allegations against the chapter and learn more about the claims. This order temporarily restricts chapter activities, including social, philanthropic, service, initiation, and recruitment events," it reads. "These allegations do not represent the Fraternity's values as defined by our creed, The True Gentleman. Our priority remains the safety and well-being of our members, guests, and their respective communities."

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Following the reports, Northwestern University announced it was immediately banning its Interfraternity Council from holding social events and chapter-sponsored recruitment activities until at least Oct. 17, according to the second crime notice.

The university noted that on-campus fraternity and sorority houses are alcohol-free spaces and the order will apply to members and non-fraternity members, as well as alumni.

Per the Daily Northwestern, any chapter that breaks the ban will be required to pay a $1,000 fine and be moved to associate status for the following quarter, ultimately preventing it from voting in IFC matters.

"The University has been in communication with IFC leadership, who understand the seriousness of these reports and the importance of the investigations. ... Let us be clear: The health, safety and well-being of our students remain our top priority and we are taking these allegations very seriously," university officials stated, adding that on-campus counseling and other health services would be available to any student in need.

In a letter released on Saturday, IFC President Nick Papandreou confirmed that the council plans to "remedy the concerns and ensure accountability in the event of policy violations," but did not identify any fraternity by name or mention whether consequences would be issued.

However, the IFC page on Northwestern's website has removed the name and email for both Alpha Epsilon Pi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon's presidents — the only two fraternities on the list to have that information revoked.

"We will never tolerate the abhorrent, dangerous and despicable behaviors such as the ones alleged and we fully support all students who have been impacted," Papandreou's letter reads, in part.

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Though action has been taken by the IFC and the university, students were still enraged by the reports, as they come just four years after similar accusations were made at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, according to the Daily Northwestern.

In response to the recent allegations, protestors took to the streets near the frat houses on Sunday evening and demanded "Greek life has got to go!," CBS affiliate WBBM reported.

"We need to abolish them. It starts with Northwestern, but it doesn't end there," one student told the outlet. "There are colleges and universities across the country that have systems in place like this, and it's causing a lot of harm — unnecessary harm."

Added another student to ABC affiliate WLS-TV: "I am here because multiple survivors have come forward stating the harm that they experienced in this frat and others. This is not a unique instance."

When contacted in regards to the matter, a spokesperson for the University directed PEOPLE to its Sept. 25 crime notice letter.

Anyone with information about the alleged drugging incidents is asked to contact the Northwestern University Police at (847) 491-3456.

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