Delta Upsilon officials were aware of sex assaults 10 months before suspension

The chapter was suspended by its headquarters days after a member raised concerns about behavior, including sexual assault, by some members.

The Delta Upsilon chapter house on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2016. The fraternity chapter was suspended after issues surrounding sexual assault were reported to its international headquarters.

Maddy Fox

The Delta Upsilon chapter house on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2016. The fraternity chapter was suspended after issues surrounding sexual assault were reported to its international headquarters.

by Jessie Bekker

The University of Minnesota’s Delta Upsilon fraternity chapter was suspended Friday after a member alerted international representatives about multiple sexual assaults committed by members in the last two years.

Delta Upsilon’s international offices notified the University’s 31-member chapter by email Friday of the temporary suspension for “serious violations of the Fraternity’s ideals and principles.” The email didn’t specify the nature of the violations.

The chapter was ordered to cease all operations until an investigation is completed, according to the email.

Fraternity officials were made aware of issues at least 10 months ago surrounding sexual assaults committed by chapter members, when Maria, a University junior studying math who reported her assault by a Delta Upsilon member to the University in December of 2015, emailed Kelsey Morrissey, the fraternity’s international chapter development director, to ask for the revocation of her perpetrator’s membership.

Maria asked to only be identified by her first name for privacy concerns.

Kayla Pederson, who graduated from the University in December and reported two assaults by members of Delta Upsilon to the University, emailed Morrissey in June to address concerns over her perpetrators’ membership. In August, Morrissey replied, stating both offenders would be expelled from the fraternity.

The chapter’s status was left untouched until a member told international officials that the Minnesota Daily had learned of issues — which included multiple sexual assaults — within the house, said Dawson Kimyon, physics senior and the member of chapter who reached out to headquarters.

Four days later, on Friday, the chapter was suspended.

“I feel that the chapter is finally being held accountable for their part in the way these cases were handled,” Pederson said Sunday. “Everybody involved is finally seeing some justice.”

Maria agreed: “On a personal level, it’s, I guess, somewhat freeing to see people being held responsible. To see that after all that, they don’t just get to continue on like they’ve been doing.”

In an emailed statement Sunday, a Delta Upsilon headquarters spokesperson said it will coordinate with the University “to take appropriate action” once an investigation is complete.

The investigation is a result of ongoing “inappropriate chapter culture, behavior and operations,” according to the statement.

At least three sexual assault reports involving Delta Upsilon members were investigated by the University in the last two years, according to sexual misconduct data obtained through public records requests.

Two Delta Upsilon members were sanctioned by the University last spring and this fall for committing the three sexual assaults at chapter events in the spring of 2015.

One member was expelled from the University after he was found responsible by the school for committing at least two sexual assaults that year. The other member was suspended from the University for one semester for a 2015 sexual assault, after a disciplinary panel shortened his original year-long suspension, documents show.

“After deliberating, the Panel members felt that while you did engage in non-consensual sexual contact, your actions were not malicious in nature,” the University’s Student Behavior Committee disposition said.

The Minnesota Daily is not naming the members because they were not charged with crimes relating to the sexual assaults.

One of the chapter’s advisors, Don Powell, emailed the fraternity’s international office, defending its current undergraduate membership.

“I don’t know about the other fraternities, but as far as our chapter is concerned, I consider this a first-class lynching of a group of guys, many of whom don’t even ‘know’ the person who caused the issue last year,” he wrote. “Compared to some other fraternities at the U, our guys are choirboys!”

Powell continued: “I don’t even know what the bloody issue ‘is’.”