Northwestern suspends fraternity activities amid investigation of on-campus drugging allegations

Northwestern University suspended all fraternity-related activities after reports people were drugged at an on-campus housing complex.

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Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Northwestern University suspended all fraternity-related activities for at least three weeks as the school investigates reports people were drugged at on-campus residences.

School officials received a report Saturday that a person had been drugged without consent Friday in Evanston, according to a university-issued crime alert.

The allegation came one day after Northwestern received separate but similar reports about people being drugged without consent while attending a gathering, according to another university crime alert.

Northwestern is investigating both incidences, which the school said happened at on-campus fraternity houses that are supposed to be “alcohol-free spaces.”

In light of the allegations, Northwestern banned all social events and chapter-sponsored recruitment activities at Northwestern fraternities in the Interfraternity Council until at least Oct. 17. That includes any events with non-members, including alumni.

“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,” the university said in the second crime alert.

Northwestern said it’s been in communication with Interfraternity Council leadership. Early Saturday, the council unanimously passed a resolution outlining restrictive measures in partnership with the university’s decision, according to the crime alert.

School officials encouraged anyone with information about the allegations to contact Northwestern University Police at 847-491-3456. 

Following Northwestern’s announcement, at least 200 students, mostly dressed in black, gathered outside the implicated fraternity houses to demand the abolishment of Greek life on campus while also offering support to the survivors.

“This is not a unique set of circumstances, this has been going on for a long time,” said Lucy London, a junior. 

London said she was proud of the turnout, calling it a “really amazing” show of support. 

A student who asked not to be named said they helped organize the rally to give students a safe space to express and feel their emotions because “that space was not provided by the university and was not going to be.”

“I wanted this to exist as an organic feeling and naturally emerging event where there was a prescriptive list of what we needed to say or what we wanted to get across but where people could voice how they were feeling,” they said. 

As for Northwestern’s response to the drugging allegations, several students said they expected more from school officials. 

“It is a step in the right direction but it is certainly not enough,” London said. 

The other student said Northwestern did the “bare minimum” and called for a student forum, where school officials could hear directly from students about their concerns. 

“I would like obviously to see them take more concrete action especially as it regards these two reports, but also so many others go unreported,” they said. 

However, they weren’t optimistic that will happen. “I do not expect anymore action from them,” the student said.

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