ASG releases statement on University’s SAE decision, chapter currently under review by national headquarters


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity’s house on Northwestern’s campus. More than 100 students signed a letter condemning the University’s lack of disciplinary action against the fraternity.

Mariana Alfaro, Print Managing Editor

More than 100 students signed a letter Wednesday addressed to Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, condemning the University’s decision to not pursue disciplinary action against two fraternities involved in allegations of druggings and sexual assault.

The allegations were first reported last month, according to an email notification sent to Northwestern students Feb. 6. The anonymous reports alleged four female students were possibly given a date rape drug at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on Jan. 21. The alert said two of the students believed they were sexually assaulted.

Chief of Police Bruce Lewis said in the email that NU also received an anonymous report Feb. 3 alleging that another female student had been sexually assaulted, possibly with the use of a date rape drug, after attending an event at a second, unnamed fraternity the previous night.

Following a University investigation, Telles-Irvin said in an email last week that Northwestern reviewed all information made available to the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office and concluded that no disciplinary action would be taken.

The letter — authored by Associated Student Government speaker of the senate Nehaarika Mulukutla and vice president of student activities Rosalie Gambrah, who are running unopposed for ASG president and executive vice president — expresses to Telles-Irvin that the University “has demonstrated time and time again that it does not care” about survivors of sexual assault and that its policies do not offer the appropriate support to survivors.

“If the best support that the university can offer to survivors is ‘information on how to contact local police’ or referencing the ‘information and resources … on the sexual misconduct website’ then it is absolutely failing to support survivors,” the letter said.

The letter also asked Telles-Irvin to end alcohol and social regulations such as the dry campus policy and freshman freeze, which stops new students from visiting Greek houses during Wildcat Welcome and the first two weeks of Fall Quarter classes. The letter said these policies do not improve campus safety for students. It also asks for first-year student programming that focuses on sexual violence, “with specific focus on how underprivileged identities are increasingly affected by these traumas.”

Petition signatories include different fraternity and sorority presidents as well as leaders of other campus groups. The letter asks for student leaders to receive training from the Center for Awareness, Response and Education, and it asks that the University support “reform initiatives within IFC to ensure complicit individuals and organizations are held accountable.”

Though the University has closed its investigation on the allegations of sexual assault against SAE, the fraternity’s national headquarters are conducting their own investigation into Northwestern’s chapter, SAE national spokesman Brandon Weghorst confirmed to The Daily in an email.

The University continues to investigate NU’s SAE chapter for other conduct violations uncovered during the initial investigation.

“Aside from the university decision, we remain focused on the proactive measures we are taking to ensure our members at the Northwestern chapter are meeting all of our guidelines and policies that uphold our mission and values,” Weghorst said.

University spokesman Bob Rowley declined to comment about SAE’s internal investigation beyond Telles-Irvin’s statement.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @marianaa_alfaro