Washington State fraternity suspended amid sexual assault investigation

Allegations of sexual assault have rumbled throughout Washington State University's campus this month.

Story highlights

  • Delta Upsilon is at least the second WSU fraternity to face suspension in 2016
  • WSU spokesperson: University investigates all criminal allegations involving students

(CNN)A Washington State University fraternity has been suspended after a claim that one of its members sexually assaulted a female student at a party.

WSU's Interfraternity Council voted 23-1 during an emergency meeting on Wednesday to suspend the Delta Upsilon chapter until further notice, according to CNN affiliate KREM-TV.
    The move followed a decision last week by Delta Upsilon International Fraternity to place its WSU chapter on emergency suspension after police opened an investigation into allegations of sexual assault, as well as multiple alcohol violations.
    The alleged violations reportedly occurred over Labor Day weekend when, a few blocks west of WSU's campus in Pullman, members of Delta Upsilon hosted a party at their frat house.
    Two female students, ages 17 and 18, who attended the party allege they were not only served alcohol, but also drugged, according to Pullman Police Officer Jake Opgenorth.
    Both students were later hospitalized.
    "Their level of intoxication ... what they were feeling, was inconsistent with their drinking experience and what they had consumed," Pullman Police Public Information Officer Chris Tennant told KREM-TV.
    Around 6:30 p.m. on September 2, the 18-year-old student told police that a Delta Upsilon member sexually assaulted her after she tried to leave the party. The next morning, about six hours later, a 17-year-old student also told police she had grown ill after being offered a drink, but was not sexually assaulted.
    After both reports, Pullman Police investigators searched the Delta Upsilon house and collected evidence, which they sent to a crime lab. As that happened, police interviewed one fraternity member suspected of the sexual assault.
    Pullman Chief of Police Gary Jenkins, citing the need for further investigation, said officers chose not to arrest the student.
    Delta Upsilon International Fraternity has launched its own investigation into the sexual assault allegation, said Executive Director Justin Kirk. In his role, Kirk oversees all 77 North American chapters of the fraternity.
    The international fraternity suspended its member chapter pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Kirk said.
    "We take these allegations with the utmost urgency and seriousness," Kirk said in a statement. "Delta Upsilon is dedicated to providing a positive and safe environment for all of our members and guests. As we conduct our internal investigation into our Washington State Chapter, we will look into any potential violations of the law and fraternity policy. This investigation will allow us to determine next steps."
    Washington State has declined to comment on the case. Citing university policy, WSU News Assistant Director Robert Strenge told CNN the university could not acknowledge the sexual assault allegations against the student. Strenge did, however, say that WSU typically launches an independent investigation into all alleged criminal activity involving its students.
    Delta Upsilon isn't the first WSU fraternity to run into trouble in 2016. In April, the university's Interfraternity Council suspended its Phi Delta Theta chapter after one student went to the hospital with life-threatening blood alcohol levels after a frat party, according to KREM-TV.