A Cal State Lengthy Seashore scholar might have been sexually assaulted by members of an area fraternity about 5 months after the college briefly suspended the group within the wake of three different sexual misconduct allegations, paperwork present.
The fraternity, Sigma Chi, dropped its affiliation with the college in Might 2018, however continues recruiting college students and collaborating in metropolis occasions, the Southern California News Group, writer of this newspaper, has discovered.
The scholar reported the alleged assault to the college, and a Title IX investigation discovered it extra probably than not that she had been assaulted, in line with paperwork detailing the investigation. She didn’t, nevertheless, file a grievance with the Lengthy Seashore Police Division. The scholar, who stated she was assaulted after attending a Sigma Chi celebration in July 2017, informed SCNG she was unaware the fraternity had been suspended from the college in February of that yr.
The scholar’s identify is being withheld, as she is the sufferer of an alleged sexual assault and requested anonymity. SCNG verified her id via a number of sources.
However a number of months earlier than that scholar’s alleged assault, college officers suspended Sigma Chi. The suspension, in February 2017, got here after the college acquired three sexual assault accusations towards members of the fraternity, stated Jeff Klaus, the college’s affiliate vice chairman for scholar life and improvement.
Individually, Lengthy Seashore Police Division officers have stated they acquired a number of studies of sexual assault involving the fraternity, although they declined to say whether or not these reviews are linked to the college allegations.
No felony fees have been filed towards members of Sigma Chi.
Sigma Chi has expelled two Lengthy Seashore members over sexual misconduct allegations, in response to Michael Church, the chief director of the fraternity’s worldwide headquarters; he didn’t reply to questions on whether or not these claims have been ever investigated by police.
In Might, annoyed by how lengthy the sexual-assault investigations have been taking and the college not offering a timeline for once they’d wrap up, the fraternity disassociated from Cal State Lengthy Seashore, Church stated.
As a disassociated fraternity, Sigma Chi is just not topic to the college’s guidelines, however additionally it is not allowed to model itself as affiliated with Cal State Lengthy Seashore.
Nonetheless, some have raised considerations about Sigma Chi members not being absolutely clear about their newfound independence. That raises questions on whether or not recruits signal on to the group considering it nonetheless has the college’s stamp of approval; what actual penalties, if any, Lengthy Seashore fraternities face for the conduct of their members; and the way a lot authority Cal State Lengthy Seashore and metropolis officers have over Greek life.
A display shot of a Sigma Chi Lengthy Seashore Instagram publish on Aug. 28, promoting college students to hurry, or be a part of, the fraternity.
The imbroglio underscores an ongoing dialog nationwide concerning the position fraternities play within the epidemic of sexual assault on school campuses. As much as 1 / 4 of feminine college college students, research present, are assaulted sooner or later of their educational careers.
“Historically, fraternities haven’t had the best reputation around sexual violence,” stated Brenda Kaye Ingram, USC’s program director of relationship and sexual violence prevention and providers. “There’s a testosterone setting with numerous alcohol consumption and informal intercourse, which is very correlated typically with sexual violence.
“That’s been the history,” Ingram added, “but I know that a lot of Greek organizations are working to change that image and culture.”
Sigma Chi severs ties to college
Church, who’s been Sigma Chi Worldwide’s government director since 2014, stated the incidents that led to its two members’ expulsion occurred earlier than the autumn 2017 semester, away from the chapter’s property and have been “not associated with any chapter activity.”
Officers for Sigma Chi Worldwide – headquartered in Illinois and overseeing 242 undergraduate chapters within the U.S. and Canada – reached out to the college in hopes of restoring the chapter to its lively standing. However Cal State Lengthy Seashore wouldn’t expedite its investigative course of and, Church stated, the fraternity couldn’t get a timetable on when the investigation would finish.
In consequence, Church stated, Sigma Chi had just one choice left: In Might 2018, it severed ties with Cal State Lengthy Seashore. By dissociating, Sigma Chi declared itself not topic to any Cal State Lengthy Seashore guidelines or penalties – although Church stated Sigma Chi nonetheless expects its members to comply with the college’s and fraternity’s tips on well being and security.
Klaus stated that the college wouldn’t think about lifting the suspension till all the particular person Title IX investigations have been accomplished. At the moment, if the investigations discovered no wrongdoing had occurred, the interim suspension can be lifted instantly. But when the investigations discovered sexual misconduct did happen, the college might both droop the fraternity for an extended time period or take away the fraternity’s constitution, he added.
Sigma Chi – which took a 15-year hiatus, till 2014, after its umbrella group discovered it violated hazing insurance policies – is the primary fraternity Klaus is aware of of that has damaged away from Cal State Lengthy Seashore and remained independently lively.
Church claimed the college dragged its ft on conducting the investigations for therefore lengthy that the fraternity had no selection however to disassociate itself.
“The university kept the chapter on cease-and-desist for seven months without beginning an investigation into the chapter,” Church stated, “and declined several times to collaborate with Sigma Chi International Fraternity on several suggested pathways of potential restoration efforts during that time period.”
Klaus countered that college investigations of sexual misconduct are inherently lengthy.
“When you have three different cases, it took and has taken a significant amount of time to go through the process,” stated Klaus, who confirmed two of the three instances the college investigated previous to Sigma Chi’s suspension are closed. He declined to say whether or not the opposite stays open, citing privateness considerations.
When somebody reviews sexual harassment or abuse to the college’s Title IX workplace, an investigation ensues. The Cal State College system, in addition to the College of California, makes use of the preponderance of proof normal – carried out underneath President Barack Obama – which means that if investigators discover a 51 % probability the allegations are true, they need to aspect with the sufferer. (President Donald Trump has allowed the clear-and-convincing commonplace, a a lot greater burden of proof, although not as rigorous because the beyond-reasonable-doubt normal.)
If the college guidelines in favor of the sufferer, it should then decide the penalty, resembling expelling or suspending the scholar towards whom the allegations have been made.
“We encourage victims of sexual harassment and assault to please come forward,” Cal State Lengthy Seashore spokeswoman Terri Carbaugh stated. “When they do, we must also ensure due process for all parties and adhere to Title IX guidelines. Title IX offers several layers of appeals and the process may feel slow and painful for those involved.”
Victims are additionally inspired — however not required — to report the incident to the right regulation enforcement businesses, officers stated. Title IX prohibits college officers from reporting allegations to regulation enforcement, even when they discover sexual misconduct occurred, with out consent from the accuser.
Cal State Lengthy Seashore College Police acquired no felony complaints associated to Sigma Chi members, stated Lt. Rick Goodwin.
And any legal grievance that’s alleged to have occurred off-campus can be dealt with by the Lengthy Seashore Police Division – relatively than college police – even when the incident occurred at a university-affiliated fraternity or sorority home. (The Title IX workplace can examine incidents that happen off-campus, so long as the accused is affiliated with the college.)
On Dec.14, 2016, the town’s Police Division acquired a report of a sexual assault at a multi-unit housing complicated within the 4200 block of East Seventh Road, spokeswoman Nancy Pratt stated; the precise tackle is in the identical constructing as Sigma Chi’s registered housing.
“This incident was investigated by the LBPD’s Sex Crimes Detail,” Pratt stated. “The case was presented to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office; however, the D.A.’s office declined to file charges.”
The D.A.’s Workplace stated it couldn’t lookup the case, or the rationale for not prosecuting, with out the names of these concerned. The Police Division wouldn’t disclose the names.
Accusations of two further sexual assaults, allegedly occurring in February 2017 at different spots in Lengthy Seashore, additionally referenced Sigma Chi members in preliminary police reviews, Pratt stated. However that info was not verified as a result of the victims didn’t want prosecution, and detectives subsequently stopped investigating each instances, she stated.
The Police Division acquired these reviews on March 22, 2017, and on Might 5 of this yr. College and police officers, citing privateness considerations, declined to say whether or not the incidents investigated by police have been the identical as these reported to the Title IX workplace.
Fraternities disassociate from universities
Regardless of not affiliating with Cal State Lengthy Seashore, Sigma Chi continues working independently within the metropolis and recruiting members on social media.
A display shot of a Sigma Chi Lengthy Seashore Instagram submit on Aug. 24, promoting that the fraternity is “back.”
In October, the fraternity marketed a most cancers analysis fundraiser that might be close to the every day Yoga on the Bluffs occasion on Ocean Boulevard. However Dharma Shakti, the organizer of Yoga on the Bluffs, requested Sigma Chi in a Fb publish to take away the commercial.
Within the submit, Shakti stated she discovered – although she didn’t disclose from whom – of the sexual misconduct allegations and Sigma Chi’s disassociation from Cal State Lengthy Seashore.
“We do not want to be affiliated with this group,” she added.
Shakti didn’t reply to requests for remark.
However Sigma Chi moved the fundraiser to Second Road.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, almost 20 individuals gathered round a Sigma Chi tent and sales space close to Second Road and Corona Avenue for the fundraiser. Most wore garments with the fraternity’s emblem, additionally recognized within the Greek group as “letters.”
When approached by an SCNG reporter, a number of members at first stated the fraternity was related to the college. However pressed additional concerning the group’s ties to Cal State Lengthy Seashore, these members clarified that they don’t seem to be formally affiliated with the college.
They added that the department selected to tug its affiliation with Cal State Lengthy Seashore as a result of the annual charges on the faculty have been too costly, contradicting Church’s reasoning. However member Ricky Contreras blamed college laws, saying they’re too strict on fraternities. He declined additional remark.
However Klaus stated he stands by the college’s determination. Investigations, notably these associated to sexual assault, take time and shouldn’t be expedited, he stated.
“We are kind of hard on the fraternities who are alleged to have sexual assault,” Klaus stated of the cease-and-desist of Sigma Chi. “That’s a position we’re comfortable taking.”
However there are limits to how far the college’s attain extends.
Kirsten Hernandez – a senior who stated she as soon as was pals with Sigma Chi members and is aware of a few of the alleged victims – stated, for instance, she nonetheless sees the fraternity’s brothers sporting their letters on campus, which frustrates her.
Members of Sigma Chi can put on the letters on campus due to free speech rights, Klaus stated. Nevertheless, they’re barred from recruiting new members on campus.
“People are allowed to wear different shirts, sweatshirts, people (can have) conversations – they cannot (recruit) in a formal way,” Klaus stated. “If we have been to watch it, we will completely handle it.
“I personally don’t like to see the disaffiliation from the university,” Klaus continued, “because that inhibits our ability to step in and work with the organization and the chapter members (to ensure members are conducting) themselves appropriately.”
Including to the confusion of attainable recruits, the Interfraternity Council, which oversees Greek life on the college, had Sigma Chi listed on its web site as an official IFC chapter till Oct. 15, when SCNG introduced it to the college’s consideration.
That has led some college students to really feel there isn’t sufficient consciousness of the fraternity’s independence.
“If you’re an incoming freshman,” Hernandez stated, “you don’t know the history of the organization, of the sexual assault allegations.”
Klaus added that the fraternity’s ongoing operations might trigger issues if it ever needed to get again within the college’s good graces.
“This is why — for an organization like this in the future — we’d be hard pressed to want to bring them back,” he stated. “Doing this puts everyone in a bad situation.”
In the meantime, all the Cal State Lengthy Seashore fraternities and sororities are off-campus, and the town of Lengthy Seashore doesn’t require Greek organizations to have an affiliation with the college.
The town can, nevertheless, examine garden-variety regulation points, comparable to code violations, noise complaints and nuisance abatement, stated Richard De La Torre, a spokesman for the town’s improvement providers.
“The city could also respond to other public safety or law enforcement concerns brought to the attention of the (Police Department),” he added.
Nationally, different fraternities have disassociated from their universities – and in response, cities have begun updating their zoning codes to restrict Greek housing for frats and sororities not affiliated with faculties.
In July, for instance, the Ann Arbor Metropolis Council, in Michigan, voted in a brand new zoning code due to Greek organizations disassociating from the College of Michigan, in response to the school’s paper.
And this fall, Sigma Chi and 4 different fraternities disassociated from West Virginia College.
The college in September despatched a letter to Sigma Chi members and fogeys saying the chapter had damaged ties with West Virginia College the month earlier than. The chapter had put itself on interim suspension, the letter stated, so the fraternity might conduct its personal investigation into a number of allegations of misconduct – for substance abuse, fights, sexual impropriety and hazing.
The identical month the college revealed its letter, officers levied a 10-year ban on Sigma Chi and the opposite 4 fraternities that disassociated. Sigma Chi’s worldwide group rebutted the college’s assertion, saying the college was “mudslinging” by referencing points the fraternity had “already resolved with WVU.”
One scholar’s accusation
The Cal State Lengthy Seashore scholar who stated she was sexually assaulted at a Sigma Chi get together in July 2017 additionally stated she was not conscious the fraternity had been suspended a number of months earlier than.
“I went to the frat house and (two members) had given me drinks,” she advised SCNG. “I used to be intoxicated and it felt as if that they had ‘roofied’ or drugged my drink, as a result of it wasn’t a celebration night time for me, and one thing made me really feel dizzy or foggy.
“I wasn’t sure what was going on,” she continued. “But two of the members walked me back to an apartment building around the corner. They brought me into a bed, both of them got into the bed, and then forced themselves on me.”
One of many members ultimately obtained up and left the room, in line with statements made to the college by each the feminine scholar and that member who left. Title IX investigators interviewed that member as a witness.
The second member, in line with the feminine scholar’s assertion to investigators, remained within the room and assaulted her.
A Cal State Lengthy Seashore scholar who stated she was sexually assaulted by a member of the CSULB Sigma Chi fraternity in July 2017 is telling her story in Lengthy Seashore on Wednesday, December. 5, 2018. (Photograph by Brittany Murray, Press-Telegram/SCNG)
The feminine scholar stated she informed a number of shut associates concerning the assault; shortly after the alleged assault, SCNG independently confirmed, she spoke with two sorority sisters about it. However the scholar, after being discouraged by a few of her different associates, initially opted to not report the incident. That’s not unusual, nevertheless, with research displaying the overwhelming majority of campus assaults go unreported.
However in October 2017, the younger lady modified her thoughts and filed a report with the college’s Title IX workplace. The following investigation decided that, based mostly on the preponderance of proof, one of many two Sigma Chi members recognized by the scholar had actually dedicated sexual misconduct, in response to the Title IX paperwork obtained by SCNG. That scholar was suspended from the college for 2 years, based on the paperwork.
SCNG was unable to find out whether or not that scholar was one of many two Sigma Chi members expelled by the fraternity’s worldwide group.
Church didn’t reply to a number of calls and emails requesting remark about this scholar’s alleged assault, which occurred about 5 months after Sigma Chi was suspended by the college.
Reached by telephone at his South Carolina regulation agency, Sigma Chi Worldwide board President Tommy Geddings declined to remark, saying he didn’t need to take part in “media games.”
Geddings added that he didn’t need to contradict Church.
The feminine scholar stated she by no means contacted police, even after submitting the report with the Title IX workplace, as a result of three months had lapsed and she or he feared there wasn’t sufficient proof to help her assault claims.
She has been recognized with post-traumatic stress dysfunction, she stated in an interview and a Title IX impression assertion. She took this semester off and plans to do the identical subsequent semester, she added.
She stated she nonetheless plans to get her diploma however isn’t positive she’ll get it at Cal State Lengthy Seashore.
“My life is altered now,” she stated. “I was supposed to graduate this year and I can’t even go on campus anymore.”