EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS) — All fraternity events at Northwestern University have been suspended after numerous drugging allegations, and one fraternity at the center of the claims has now placed its Northwestern chapter under a cease-and-desist order.
The cease and desist order was handed down Monday against the Northwestern chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity:READ MORE: University Of Chicago Police Officer Who Shot Man In Hyde Park Shootout Also Shot Student In 2018
Meanwhile, a student who claims to be a victim has come forward in a student newspaper op-ed claiming she was “belittled, disbelieved, and mistreated” once she went to the hospital.
“The Fraternity Service Center of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has issued a cease-and-desist on its chapter at Northwestern University to continue reviewing recent allegations against the chapter and learn more about the claims. This order temporarily restricts chapter activities, including social, philanthropic, service, initiation, and recruitment events.”
“As referenced in our previous statement, these allegations do not represent the Fraternity’s values as defined by our creed, The True Gentleman. Our priority remains the safety and well-being of our members, guests, and their respective communities.”
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported Monday, all this comes after Northwestern decided over the weekend that effective immediately, there will be no more social events or chapter-sponsored recruitment activities at Northwestern fraternities in the Intrafraternity Council until at least Oct. 17. This comes as the university continues to investigate the claims.
Crews on Monday were seen power-washing the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, hours after a protest the night before. ΣAE is one of two fraternities where allegations of drugging have arisen, and protesters on Sunday night called for the abolition of Greek life at Northwestern altogether.
In addition to the allegations at ΣAE on Friday night, there were multiple allegations of drugging at the nearby Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house on Thursday.
The university declined Molina’s interview request and didn’t respond to our direct questions about the allegations or what next steps will be following their investigation – regardless of what they find. Spokesman Jon Yates released the following statement:
“We are not granting interviews.
“We have no updates to the message that was sent to our community on Saturday. The University took swift action and prohibited all social events and chapter-sponsored recruitment activities at Northwestern fraternities in the Interfraternity Council. These activities have been prohibited until at least Oct. 17. That includes events with non-members, such as alumni. Individuals or groups who violate this restriction, or any University policy, will be referred to the Office of Community Standards. This decision was made to help ensure the safety of our students. As we said in our message to the Northwestern community, the health, safety and well-being of our students is our top priority.
“The University is in the process of investigating the allegations.”
Meanwhile, an Op-Ed was published Monday in the school’s paper, The Daily Northwestern. It was written by a student who claims to have been drugged in one of the incidents under investigation.
The student, Isabel Podolsky, wrote that she was drugged at AEΠ on Thursday night.
“The night I was drugged, I had consumed two drinks over a period of three hours. I took two sips of a ‘non-alcoholic’ drink that was offered to me, only to realize 30 minutes later that I had been drugged,” Podolsky wrote. “I ended up on a couch in Kemper Hall, dissociating, able to speak coherently but unsure if I could move my body.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Bitter Cold, But Snow Is On The Way
Her focus was not on Greek life, but on her claims about how it was handled both by paramedics and at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. The op-ed read in part:
“My memory is patchy, given my situation, but moments stick with me: One EMS worker, standing above me and shaking her head with an expression on her face that said I should have known better. Another EMS worker, after declaring that my physical state warranted bringing me to the hospital, deciding it would be okay for me to walk myself down to the ambulance and not providing any sort of assistance when I did so. The EMS team telling my friend she couldn’t ride in the ambulance with me because she wasn’t family, though my family lives 600 miles away. Then, at the very last minute, after she’d worked out alternative arrangements to get to the hospital, the EMS team reversing course. The attendant in the ambulance choosing to have me sit upright on a bench and condescendingly asking me to move to my “other right” when I struggled to find the seatbelt, which was a challenge for me. At that point, the drug had made my vision incredibly blurry. I should have known even before I arrived at the hospital that I was going to be belittled, disbelieved and mistreated.
“I spent two hours in emergency room 20 at Evanston Hospital. I was unattended (not even provided with fluids or a blanket) for around three-quarters of this time period. Initially, my vitals were taken (something one hospital staff member thought necessitated asking me to take my shirt off) and I did a urine test, which I was informed would be a full drug panel. I requested a blood test, too, since I know that these tests are more accurate, but was told it would be too ‘difficult.’ I later found out that, instead of conducting a full drug panel with my urine sample, the doctors only tested for marijuana and Valium. The reasoning behind this? I wasn’t ‘physically assaulted,’ so they couldn’t conduct a full drug panel without going to a crime lab.”
Podolsky claimed that the doctor who treated her was negligent, and wrote that the staff did not believe her when she said she was drugged, listing “alcohol intoxication” as the reason for her admittance. She wrote that she was not drunk, but even if she had been, it “would not be an excuse to withhold necessary medical treatment or act without basic human decency.”
NorthShore University HealthSystem would not address Podolsky’s specific claims, citing privacy concerns. But the hospital did issue this statement on Tuesday:
“We are taking this matter very seriously and are committed to providing outstanding care and treatment to all our patients across our organization. NorthShore welcomes the opportunity to continue our long-standing collaboration with Northwestern University to effectively meet the health needs of their student body. As for details related to this specific case, we are unable to provide further comment out of respect for patient privacy.”
Meanwhile, the fraternities at the center of these investigations spoke to accountability.
Jon Pierce, a past international president and current media spokesman for Alpha Epsilon Pi International, released the following statement:
“Alpha Epsilon Pi is horrified by these stories. Our understanding is that the people responsible ARE NOT and HAVE NEVER been members of AEPi. We are cooperating fully with the University’s investigation. As soon as they became aware of this, our Brothers acted in the best interest of those affected by providing care and comfort to the victims to the extent they could and turning over all information to the proper officials. If proven guilty, those perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
A spokesperson for ΣAE, who’s national headquarters is on Northwestern’s Campus, told us “The Fraternity Service Center is working with our members and alumni volunteers and has attempted to engaged university officials regarding the allegations.” This statement was issued prior to the cease-and-desist order for the Northwestern chapter.
The Northwestern University Intrafraternity Council also released a statement saying that it would “never tolerate the abhorrent, dangerous, and despicable behaviors such as the ones alleged” that it concurred with the ban on fraternity activities.
The investigation continued Monday evening. The university called the drugging claims allegations, not incidents, and had no answer to our questions about what discipline could look like or what policy changes could be.MORE NEWS: Chicago Auto Show's First Look For Charity Gala Fundraiser Set For Feb. 11
Evanston police said they are not involved in the investigation. It is being handled by Northwestern University police, who also had no updates or answers to specific questions Monday.