Frats on alert after 3rd sexual assault report

The Interfraternity Council has created a dry-house rule as a temporary solution.

Chelsey Knutson

A 19-year-old University of Minnesota student reported being sexually assaulted at a fraternity late last week, according to police âÄì the third such report in the past two weeks.
The alleged assault occurred between 9 p.m. Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday at Phi Gamma Delta, also called FIJI, at 1129 University Ave. SE.
Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said alcohol was involved in the latest incident, as with the previous assaults that occurred on Sept. 18 and Sept. 26.
As a result of the latest case, the Interfraternity Council has placed a moratorium on alcohol consumption at all IFC member houses when guests are present, IFC President Martin Chorzempa said.  
Palmer would not comment on possible suspects in the latest case, but said it and the earlier alleged assaults at Delta Kappa Epsilon and Chi Psi are unrelated.
KSTP quoted Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Jerry Rinehart, as saying suspects in two of the cases âÄúappear to have been fraternity members.âÄù
Rinehart said the dry-house rule is an âÄúexcellent first step,âÄù but added that the assaults are âÄúvery unfortunate and we are appalled by them.âÄù
âÄúIâÄôm very pleased that the IFC could reach a decision about the dry-house rule so fast and unanimously,âÄù Rinehart said.
Chad Ellsworth, spokesman for the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said the dry-house rule will be âÄúindefinite until we can provide a safe environment for guests and members.âÄù
The entire University has negatively been affected by the events, Rinehart added.
The IFC hired security guards for homecoming weekend, but the guards were hired for Friday and Saturday nights and not Thursday night when the assault took place, Chorzempa said.  
Chorzempa said there were large events during homecoming weekend, but they were well controlled, and the IFC was satisfied with the precautions taken by most of the chapter houses.
On Sunday night, DKE was suspended from IFC and barred from full membership for at least four years. Chorzempa said DKE would need to show an improvement in behavior before the IFC would consider any applications for membership.
âÄú[DKE] will have to prove a very impressive track record of effective risk management and academics,âÄù Chorzempa said.
Rinehart said he thinks a similar suspension could be coming for Chi Psi.
âÄúIt is amazing to me that they could make such poor decisions about alcohol consumption at their house when they were already on probation for that,âÄù Rinehart said.
Chi Psi will have a judicial hearing when there is substantive evidence of what happened Sept. 26 at the chapter house, Chorzempa said.  
âÄúThere is a limit to how much you can control what other people do,âÄù he said. âÄúNo matter how good your policies are, no matter how good anything is, when you have a large visible community thereâÄôs a chance something bad will happen.âÄù
The judicial meeting for Phi Gamma Delta will most likely happen within the next two weeks when there is more information about the assault, Ellsworth said.  
Chapters are still encouraged to hold social events.
âÄúThe key is âÄòwithout alcohol,âÄôâÄù Chorzempa said.  
The national organizations for Phi Gamma Delta, Chi Psi and Delta Kappa Epsilon might decide to impose their own sanctions on the local chapters, Ellsworth said.  
âÄúObviously there needs to be a change,âÄù Ellsworth said in response to the latest assault.