Earlier this month, Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs, notified members of the Northwestern community that, “No disciplinary action or further investigative action related to the reports of sexual misconduct will be taken at this time.”
In February, Ms. Telles-Irvin notified the Northwestern community that anonymous reports had been received alleging that four female students had been given a date-rape drug and that two of them had been raped while attending a party at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on campus. Such warnings are required under a federal law known as the Clery Act, according to a statement by Ms. Telles-Irvin posted on the Northwestern University website. The statement also said Northwestern had issued the alert “because there was reason to believe that members of our community might be at risk of harm.”
The Sexual Harassment Prevention Office (SHPO) investigated the reports, and together with Student Affairs, engaged in extensive outreach to members of the Northwestern community, asking persons with knowledge of the events or related actions to come forward in order to gather additional information. The University also offered all students support and resources, including information on how to contact local police, the statement read.
During the investigation, the fraternity was ordered to cease chapter operations.
Ms. Telles-Irvin’s statement continued, “After gathering and assessing all additional information and carefully considering the wishes of those who spoke with SHPO staff, and the applicable Title IX guidance, the University has concluded its review related to the alleged sexual misconduct. No disciplinary action or further investigative action related to the reports of sexual misconduct will be taken at this time. As is always the case, the SHPO will review any new information that is presented and respond accordingly. In addition, the University continues to investigate other potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct by [the fraternity] not related to sexual misconduct that were learned in the inquiry into these reports.”
Ms. Telles-Irvin’s statement also referred to a second incident of possible drugging and sexual assault of a student at a different fraternity in early February. The statement continued, “After assessing all information and carefully considering the wishes of the person who spoke with SHPO staff, and the applicable Title IX guidance, the University has concluded its review related to the alleged sexual misconduct. No disciplinary action or further investigative action will be taken at this time.”
As a result of these reports, the SHPO will provide additional outreach and training to fraternities and sororities on preventing sexual assault in the coming months. In addition, the SHPO will add a new staff member to assist in Title IX outreach and education efforts. Northwestern also provides information and resources to students, faculty, and staff on the Sexual Misconduct website.
Ms. Teller-Irvin’s statement concluded, “The University strives to create a campus that is safe and secure for its faculty, staff and students. We also believe in providing a fair process, consideration for those involved, and a learning environment free of any type of harassment.”