The University of Kansas has placed the Kappa Sigma fraternity on interim suspension after allegations that a KU student was sexually assaulted during a party last weekend.
Lawrence police said the assault apparently occurred late Saturday night or Sunday morning and may have occurred while the victim was impaired. Police said they were contacted about 12:45 a.m. Monday.
Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement Wednesday that KU had moved on Kappa Sigma “due to disturbing and serious allegations.” She said the allegations also had been reported to the university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access.
“As a community, we will not tolerate the type of egregious behavior that has been reported,” she said.
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University officials declined to release details of what reportedly happened at the party.
The Lawrence chapter of Kappa Sigma, with a house at 1045 Emery Road, did not respond to a request for comment.
But Mitchell Wilson, executive director of the national organization of Kappa Sigma, said an investigation team was heading to Lawrence.
If an infraction of the fraternity’s code of conduct occurred, penalties could range from fines to shutting down the house, Wilson said.
Until the fraternity, university and police investigations are complete, all KU Kappa Sigma activities are suspended, Wilson said. For now, members will continue to live in the house.
Kappa Sigma has 322 chapters and colonies on college campuses.
“Ninety percent of them do the right thing, but occasionally we do have chapters that require discipline,” Wilson said.
The alleged sexual assault follows university reports last month of a higher-than-usual number of sexual offenses being reported this semester to the school’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. The office is responsible, under Title IX in federal law, for investigating complaints of gender discrimination and any sex-related offenses on the campus.
An increase in sex-related reports at the Title IX office began after a Huffington Post story about an earlier sexual assault fueled protests on campus. Some students, faculty and staff contended that such offenses had not been adequately investigated.
KU is among 76 colleges and universities across the country being investigated by the federal government for not properly handling sexual assault complaints.
The university vowed to improve its process for investigating sexual assault complaints and sanctioning offenders. Gray-Little appointed a task force to review KU policies on sexual offenses and recommend improvements.
On Wednesday, she urged anyone with information about the Kappa Sigma case to contact the Lawrence police or the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access.
Police are trying to find others who may have been at the party or who have information about what occurred. Anyone with information is asked to call Lawrence police at 785-832-7509.
To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.