Administrators at ECU have ordered a fraternity to suspend all activities while a review moves forward into an alleged drink tampering and sexual assault at its house in October, a memo distributed to campus said.
The cease and desist order against Theta Chi Fraternity will be in effect for a minimum of 30 days, according to the memo distributed from Chancellor Philip Rogers on Tuesday. Further action may be taken against Theta Chi or individuals if an administrative review find violations of student conduct code occurred.
The memo said the review is a result of a report that drink tampering had led to a sexual assault at at the fraternity on Oct. 29.
“If it is determined, through our campus processes, that an individual and/or student organization violated the Student Code of Conduct, then the individual and/or organization will be held accountable and sanctioned in accordance with university policy and procedures,” Rogers said in the memo.
ECU issued an alert on Nov. 9 that it had received a report about the incident. The Greenville Police Department later confirmed it was notified on Oct. 30 of a possible sexual assault and was investigating.
The ECU alert said the university received the report on Nov. 9 and that a description of the assailant was not available. It issued the alert because the federal Clery Act requires reports of campus crime. Authorities have provided no further information.
Since the university issued a timely alert of the incident, Theta Chi has come under fire by way of protests and a march calling for its removal from campus. At the Nov. 17 march, organizers raised concerns about an ECU alert last year that alleged three incidents of drink tampering occurred during a party at the fraternity, which has a large facility built in 2017 at 509 W. Fifth St. The ECU chapter was founded in 1958.
On Nov. 17, ECU’s Student Government Association Assembly also passed the Survivors Support Resolution, which includes support of a 100-year suspension of Theta Chi from ECU.
“... the demonstrated pattern of allegations regarding drink tampering and sexual assault at the Theta Chi Fraternity house poses a risk to campus safety and shows that there is a systemic issue with the organizational culture and an inability for the organization to be a positive member of campus ...” a part of the legislature reads.
The resolution further requests that crime statistics be reported to students by the university in a more active way than being available on its website, such as being sent monthly to students with the goal of increasing transparency and reducing rates.
The resolution was sent to Rogers and other university leaders following its passage. SGA President Chandler Ward said Tuesday that the resolution has no actionable effect.
Rogers’ memo said the cease-and-desist order can continue to be issued as needed during an administrative review and, if violated, will lead to further action being taken on the organization or individual it applies to.
“While it is important to be clear about the authority to review under our policies and act on any findings, it is also important to be clear about the limits on such authority. It is not within the university’s purview to remove an organization permanently without due process,” the memo said.
“If a student is sanctioned, please remember that the action may never be a matter of public record based on FERPA laws. Also, any related criminal investigations and outcomes by local agencies are outside ECU’s authority.”
Theta Chi Fraternity has expressed a desire to cooperate fully with the investigation, the memo said.
It also said that, prior to the review and cease-and-desist order, the university provided information regarding the process to the complainant or complainants and ensured awareness of available support services to those impacted.