Hundreds of Demonstrators March at Northwestern Amid Sex Assault Investigation

Hundreds of demonstrators marched on Northwestern University’s campus Friday following an investigation regarding allegations of sexual assault prevalent in the school’s fraternity scene.

The university sent out a security alert Monday night after receiving reports of possible sexual assaults on its Evanston campus that involve the use of a date rape drug.

The warning was issued after two reports were filed last week with the school’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Office in regards to separate incidents at two Northwestern fraternities.

On Feb. 2, the university’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Office received a report that four female students were potentially given a date rape drug while at a party at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity that was held two and a half weeks earlier, on Jan. 21. Two of the four women said they believed they were sexually assaulted.

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters placed its Northwestern University chapter under a "cease-and-desist order," which means all chapter operations must halt until further notice, the fraternity said in a statement.

"Sigma Alpha Epsilon respects the rights of those who will participate in the march to assemble and voice their opinions," the fraternity said. "We currently are engaging in dialogue with the campus community, and we are hopeful the movement is peaceful and productive."

On Feb. 3, the university received an anonymous report of another sexual assault that allegedly took place on Feb. 2. In the report, a female student was sexually assaulted, possibly involving the use of a date rape drug, after attending an event at another fraternity house, school officials said. The report did not name the fraternity involved, and it was unclear as to where the alleged assault occurred. [[413017833, C]]

“Did the chapter do anything that breached our expectations and guidelines, we as a national organization have the ability to sanction the chapter as a whole if we think that is necessary or individuals or one person in the chapter,” Brandon Weghorst, associate executive director of communications for Sigma Alpha Epsilon said in a phone interview.

In the alert posted to Northwestern University’s website, the school asks anyone with information to come forward.

“The Northwestern University Policy on Sexual Misconduct requires all employees, including student employees, as well as non-employees with teaching or supervisory authority, to report sexual misconduct of which they become aware,” the statement said.

Those who may know someone at risk are urged to call Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3456 or Evanston Police by dialing 9-1-1, or by using a Blue Light emergency telephone.

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