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November 27, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 47°F

News

Cornell fraternities suspend parties after reports of assaults

In reaction to four reports of drug-laced drinks and one report of sexual assault at events hosted by Cornell University fraternities, Cornell has suspended all fraternity parties and social events. 

According to the Cornell University Police Department (CUPD), the sexual assault reportedly took place at some point between 2:30 and 4:30 a.m. Nov. 6 on the 100 block of Thurston Avenue. The alert said the victim was at an event in the 100 block of Thurston Avenue and reported to the CUPD at 4:45 a.m. that they had been sexually assaulted. The only fraternity on the 100 block of Thurston Avenue is Alpha Epsilon Pi.

Earlier in the week at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 4, a report was made to the CUPD of at least four incidents where Cornell students “reported to have consumed little to no alcohol at an off-campus location but became incapacitated while attending partiesbetween Sept. 24 and Nov. 3 on the 800 block of University Avenue. According to Cornell’s daily crime logs, the victims were exposed to Rohypnol, also known as “roofies.” The crime log for the Rohypnol reports has a closed disposition and is categorized as assault. The only fraternities on the 800 block of University Avenue are Chi Psi and Theta Delta Chi.

The Ithaca Police Department (IPD) and CUPD are currently investigating both reports.  

In a Nov. 7 article, unnamed sources told The Ithaca Voice information not included in Cornell reports.

“Sources also tell The Ithaca Voice that around six people have been taken to the hospital recently showing signs of being drugged,” the article stated. “All of the victims in those cases have been women.”

In a university statement Nov. 7, Cornell said the Interfraternity Council (IFC) — the governing body of all recognized Cornell fraternities — has suspended fraternity parties and social events until further notice. The statement said the student leaders of IFC made this decision at an emergency meeting with staff Nov. 6. 

“Fraternity leaders will take this time to implement stronger health and safety plans,” the statement said. “No IFC-affiliated social events will resume until student leaders and Cornell staff are confident activities can take place responsibly and safely.”

The statement was signed by Cornell President Martha E. Pollack and Ryan Lombardi, vice president of Student and Campus Life at Cornell.

In an email to the Ithaca College community Nov. 8, Bill Kerry, executive director of Public Safety and Emergency Management, and Elyse Nepa, assistant director of the Clery Act and Prevention Education, reported the incident to the college community and reinforced guidance from the IPD. The email said no Ithaca College students have reportedly been victims of these crimes.

“The Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management would like to inform the campus community of these incidents to raise awareness, aid in the prevention of similar crimes, and remind students of on- and off-campus resources available to them,” the email said.

In the email, Nepa and Kerry said students who need support can access resources including the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education program or the Prevention Education Network.

“We encourage all students, faculty and staff members to be active partners in creating and maintaining a safe campus community where we all can flourish,” the email said.

Cornell has encouraged anyone with information about the incidents to contact the CUPD at 607-255-1111 or through the RAVE Guardian app, the IPD at 607-272-3245, or the IPD tip line at 607-330-0000. Reports can also be made through the Silent Witness program.

The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County operates a support-services hotline at 607-277-5000.

Lorien Tyne can be reached at ltyne@ithaca.edu