Date rape drug use reported at Northwestern

Evanston chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon faces scrutiny after allegations

Husnain Raza

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On Feb. 3, an anonymous report was sent to Northwestern University alleging that four girls were given a date rape drug at a fraternity event, with two of the girls believing that they were sexually assaulted.

Not much information is known of the alleged incident, including the identity of the four girls, the identity of the perpetrator, or the relation between them.

However, two separate reports were filed, one after a fraternity event Feb. 2 and another regarding a separate event Feb. 3.

Both reports alleged the sexual assault of female students and the use of a date rape drug. Even with lack of information, the accusations are being treated very seriously.

After the reports, a university-wide security alert was posted detailing the incidents and containing resources for students regarding sexual assault. The report said “Northwestern University is concerned about the safety and well-being of its students, faculty and staff and about incidents of sexual misconduct, harassment or violence. All Northwestern community members should look out for one another and ensure that everyone is safe.”

Sexual assault at a university as large as Northwestern is not rare. According to the Daily Northwestern, a report released said that 179 complaints regarding sexual misconduct were recorded during the school years 2015 and 2016.

However, both Northwestern staff and students have voiced their concerns and grievance with this incident and incidents like it.

Former New Trier student, Sarah Zhang (‘16), a freshman at Northwestern, said, “Sexual assault is alive and real at every campus, and Northwestern is no different. The student body as a whole is very disappointed and saddened by the event.”

The events prompted the shutdown of the Evanston chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, the fraternity that held the event where the alleged sexual assault took place.

The fraternity was told to shut down all social activities “until further notice,” according to the Daily Northwestern.

While the fraternity itself complied with the university, members of the fraternity did not agree with the shutdown. This disagreement culminated with the walkout of four senators in the Student Government Senate, leaving the senate with to few members to issue a cease-and-desist order on the fraternity.

There has been criticism of the fraternity from various students. Some of this criticism included a march by more than three hundred students, who marched to the headquarters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in Evanston in response to the accused sexual assaults, according to the Daily Northwestern.

The march also included speeches by survivors of sexual assault who were there in support of the victims of the alleged assault.

Audrey Angelos, a member of the march said “I attended the march down Sheridan Road that was organized to support the survivors of sexual assault. It was an incredibly moving experience, that I hope sent a message to the university about how the student body feels about the situation.”

Zhang, who also attended the march, said “It was very moving and survivors spoke about their own experiences, both at NU and outside of it, calling for SAE and all fraternities to take responsibility and enact change.”

Regardless of the conflict over whether or not the fraternity was responsible for the assault, many students have expressed the fact that it is important to know of the risks of sexual assault on college campuses.

“Although we know these things occur frequently on college campuses, it’s hard to believe it’s happening on our own. It seems as though most people in general realize and understand that this behavior is unacceptable, and cannot be tolerated on our campus,” Angelos said.

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