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Delta Upsilon fraternity suspends WSU chapter over sexual assault and drugging allegations

The exterior of Delta Upsilon fraternity is seen on Thursday, Sep 15, 2016, Pullman, Wash. The national headquarters of Delta Upsilon fraternity has suspended its Washington State University chapter amid allegations of drugging and sexual assault. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
The exterior of Delta Upsilon fraternity is seen on Thursday, Sep 15, 2016, Pullman, Wash. The national headquarters of Delta Upsilon fraternity has suspended its Washington State University chapter amid allegations of drugging and sexual assault. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The national headquarters of Delta Upsilon fraternity has suspended its Washington State University chapter amid allegations of drugging and sexual assault.

The Pullman Police Department and WSU’s Office of Student Conduct are investigating the chapter following a series of reports earlier this month. The chapter also was suspended by WSU’s Interfraternity Council, meaning it can’t participate in universitywide Greek programs.

“Sexual assault on campus, whether those involved are Greek-affiliated or not, is an issue that is highly serious and, frankly, deplorable,” the Interfraternity Council said in a statement Wednesday.

On the evening of Sept. 2, police were called to Pullman Regional Hospital after receiving a report that a WSU student was being treated for a possible sexual assault. The 18-year-old woman told police she had been at the Delta Upsilon house, 815 N.E. Ruby St., where she was given alcohol and sexually assaulted.

On Sept. 3 just after 2 a.m., a 17-year-old WSU student reported to police that she became ill after drinking alcohol provided at the party that same night. Pullman police Cmdr. Chris Tennant has said at least three women went to the hospital saying they drank at the fraternity and felt drugged.

Tennant said chemicals leave the body quickly, making it difficult to prove whether someone was drugged. He said urine test results take six weeks.

Police searched the house and interviewed a possible suspect in the sexual assault, but no arrests have been made. Adam Jussel, the director of the Student Conduct Office, declined to comment.

A Delta Upsilon representative couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

In April, police said two students may have been drugged at a party at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house. But Tennant later said no drugs or alcohol turned up in lab tests.

And after another party at Phi Delta Theta, a new member was hospitalized with a life-threatening blood-alcohol level. The IFC said the fraternity had held “a competition in which members were separated into teams based on their pledge class years, and were challenged to consume as much hard alcohol as possible.”

Several WSU fraternity and sorority chapters have been disbanded for problems such as rape, sexual assault, hazing and underage drinking.

Interfraternity Council President Nathan Harris said student leaders are “doing whatever we can” to curb such problems through education and intervention. He said members of every WSU fraternity met for more than an hour Wednesday evening to discuss solutions. They plan to require some members to undergo the university’s eight-hour “Green Dot” training sessions, which teach bystanders how to intervene in cases of sexual or domestic violence.

In 2014, then-WSU President Elson Floyd banned alcohol in all Greek houses that house freshmen, citing an “unprecedented number of Greek chapters that have lost recognition in recent years.”

On average, about 10 rapes and 20 sexual assaults were reported to the Pullman Police Department each year from 1997 to 2014, according to data on the department’s website. Experts say most cases of sexual violence go unreported.

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