Updated Monday, Oct. 27 at 9:20 a.m.
Two students informed the Office of Student Life and the Department of Public Safety that they suspected they were given alcoholic drinks containing a date-rape drug at a fraternity party in Sears House Oct. 17, wrote Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services, and Russell Carey ’91 MA’06, executive vice president for planning and policy, in a community-wide email Friday.
One of the students reported that she was sexually assaulted the same night that she received the date-rape drug. Both students reported “a rapid onset of intoxication out of proportion to what they may have had to drink,” as well as “memory loss for a significant period of time” — effects consistent with consuming common date-rape drugs like Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine, according to the email.
Neither Klawunn nor Carey could be reached for comment by press time Sunday on the specific drugs the students consumed or the name of the fraternity where the alleged incident occurred. Though its investigation is ongoing, the University has suspended the fraternity where the “spiked” drinks were provided and is reevaluating its policies for alcohol service at campus events, Klawunn and Carey wrote.
The Brown chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity is the only fraternity housed in Sears, according to the Brown University Greek Community website.
“We take this matter very seriously and are investigating to determine the facts to inform any action,” wrote Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, in an email to The Herald.
Alex Sherry ’15, Greek Council chair and a brother of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, was not aware of either the alleged date rape or any incidences of drugged alcoholic drinks prior to reading Klawunn and Carey’s email, he wrote in an email to The Herald Friday night.
Kevin Carty ’15, a sexual assault peer educator and brother of Alpha Epsilon Pi, said the alleged incident occurred as peer educators embark on a new bystander prevention education program “every member of every” fraternity and sorority is set to undergo this semester.
“Sexual assault is committed by people who are shielded by groups,” said Carty, a Herald opinions columnist. “Bystander prevention education does a good job of educating people who aren’t going to commit sexual assault to make the culture of the group or the house a safer place.”
This is the third year that Greek Council has undertaken a sexual assault prevention and education initiative, Carty said.
With the help of Marc Peters, the new men’s health coordinator, and a larger group of peer educators, the program has worked to schedule sessions with every house in order to reach as many members as possible, rather than only new pledges in the spring, Carty said.
Sergeant Steven Bremges said DPS was unable to release additional information until Monday.
Meanwhile, Klawunn and Carey urged community members to contact DPS Sergeant John Carvalho with information about the suspected use of a date-rape drug or the alleged sexual assault.
The alleged incident at Brown follows two other episodes of assault involving date-rape drugs this semester, one at the University of California at Berkeley and another at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Five individuals at Berkeley told campus authorities earlier this month that they were given “roofies” and sexually assaulted at an unrecognized chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon, the Daily Californian reported.