Brown University has removed the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity from campus for at least four years for hosting an unregistered party where attendees said they'd been slipped date-rape drugs.
The sanction imposed Monday comes down hard on the fraternity, but fails to charge any individuals with drug offenses. The fraternity denies any of its members supplied gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a common date-rape drug, during an October party. A Brown spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that the Ivy League school hasn't singled out anyone, but would not comment further.
Brown said Monday that Phi Psi would lose university recognition for at least four years, and its housing would be taken immediately. A university hearing in December determined the fraternity was guilty of hosting an unregistered party, illegal possession or use of drugs, and illegal provision, sale, or possession with intent to sell/provide drugs. The fraternity created an environment "that facilitated sexual misconduct," the school said in a statement.
"One student reported an incident of non-consensual sexual contact that did not happen within the fraternity’s facility nor did it involve a member of the fraternity, but its occurrence was a result of the student's incapacitation," the school said.
Phi Kappa Psi is the same fraternity reeling from a now-discredited account of a gang rape at the fraternity's house at the University of Virginia, published by Rolling Stone in November. The Phi Psi chapter at Brown was sanctioned just days after the UVA chapter was reinstated following a police investigation. A member of the fraternity at UVA was elected to lead the Inter-Fraternity Council on the Charlottesville campus.
The fraternity's Brown chapter said in a letter to the student newspaper after the party last fall that it was "confident that in no way did any member of Phi Kappa Psi engage in or perpetrate such atrocious and criminal behavior."
The chapter reiterated that claim Tuesday in a statement to The Huffington Post and questioned a laboratory test that showed party guests had ingested GHB.
"Very serious questions arising from emerging scientific evidence remain about whether or not either of the women ingested GHB, and for these reasons Phi Kappa Psi continues to believe that no member served a spiked drink to either of the young women," the statement said. "The University has acknowledged the implications of these developments, and the issue remains unresolved and continues to be subject to a thorough review by the University. We are committed to a just investigation and the implementation of policies that work to make our community a safer place for all."
The school said it would only consider modifying the punishment after "a thorough and final review of the physical evidence."
Phi Psi was known for frequent parties, and promoted its alcohol-fueled gatherings in materials aimed at prospective fraternity members.
"Sexual assault is a problem nationwide, not just in fraternities," Shawn Collinsworth, national executive director for Phi Psi, told The Huffington Post. "[But ] we work hard every day at educating our members on this issue."