Cornell Suspends All Fraternity Events After Alleged Sex Assault, Druggings

Cornell University announced it has suspended all fraternity parties and social events after authorities said a student was sexually assaulted and at least four others were drugged while attending social events at off-campus fraternity houses.

The Ivy League school, whose main campus is in Ithaca, New York, announced the suspension Monday following what police said has been a string of drug-related incidents between Sept. 24 and Thursday, Nov. 3.

The alleged sexual assault occurred sometime early Sunday, police said. It’s not clear whether the incident is believed to be connected to the earlier events.

The “students reported to have consumed little to no alcohol at an off-campus location but became incapacitated while attending parties,” Cornell University Police said Friday of the alleged druggings.

The affected students told police they were exposed to the drug Rohypnol, which is a sedative that’s commonly known as “roofies” or the “date rape drug.”

The decision to suspend all events follows an emergency meeting Sunday between university staff and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which governs all IFC-recognized fraternities at Cornell, the school’s president, Martha E. Pollack, and the school’s vice president of student and campus life, Ryan Lombardi, said in a letter to students.

“No IFC-affiliated social events will resume until student leaders and Cornell staff are confident activities can take place responsibly and safely,” they said.

A Cornell representative told HuffPost Tuesday that it had no further information to share about the suspension. The Ithaca Police Department, which is investigating the recent incidents, did not immediately respond to questions.

Cornell, like many schools across the country, has long battled incidents of sexual assault and hazing.

The school in 2018 announced new anti-hazing policies for Greek life after a number of hazing-related issues, including the 2011 death of a sophomore from alcohol poisoning.

These changes included a three-year suspension for Greek life chapters found to have committed coerced alcohol or other drug consumption, sexual and related misconduct, or other forms of violence or mentally abusive behavior that poses a threat to health and safety.