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Brown: 2 Fraternities ‘Facilitated’ Sexual Misconduct

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University officials on Monday announced that two fraternities on the Ivy League campus have been sanctioned for hosting unregistered parties last fall, including one where two students reported drinking punch laced with a date-rape drug.

School leaders announced the discipline against Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi in a statement to the media and a letter to members of the university community. Brown officials said both fraternities created environments that “facilitated” sexual misconduct. No members of the fraternities are accused by the school of sexual misconduct, and none of them face criminal charges.

Phi Kappa Psi will lose university recognition for four years, including the loss of housing on campus, effective immediately. School officials said the fraternity hosted a party in October and two students reported drinking a beverage containing a date-rape drug.

Both students reported rapid intoxication followed by memory loss, and one of them reported being sexually assaulted. Brown officials said the assault was non-consensual contact that did not happen at the fraternity and did not involve a fraternity member, but was the result of the student’s incapacitation.

One of the students tested positive for gamma hydroxybutyrate, a date-rape drug also known as GHB, Brown officials have said.

Sigma Chi was put on probation and its university privileges have been suspended until the fall of 2016. Brown officials said the fraternity cannot sponsor social events, has lost access to the chapter room, lounge, library and basement, and is ineligible to conduct recruitment, rush or initiation processes.

School officials said Sigma Chi hosted an unregistered party in October where a student reported an incident of non-consensual sexual contact, but the student wasn’t able to identify the person who touched her.

“The measures we are taking … reflect our interest in preventing sexual assault by addressing the campus climate at Brown,” said Brown Executive Vice President Russell Carey and Vice President Margaret Klawunn in a letter to the campus community. “All Brown community members need to be involved in preventing sexual violence, and all student organizations are expected to ensure that adequate security measures are in place to promote safe events and activities.”

Carey and Klawunn also announced a comprehensive review of alcohol policy and regulations for social events.

Officials with the national chapters of Phi Kappa Psi and Sigma Chi and an official with the Brown chapter of Sigma Chi did not return messages seeking comment Monday. A phone listing for the local Phi Kappa Psi chapter couldn’t be found.

Phi Kappa Psi members in a letter to The Brown Daily Herald last fall said that news involving the two students who reported the date-rape drug incident took them by surprise and they were confident “that in no way did any member of Phi Kappa Psi engage in or perpetrate such atrocious and criminal behavior.”

Brown officials said the sanctions against both fraternities were upheld on appeal and the national chapters were informed.

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