The sun shines over Delta Upsilon

The Delta Upsilon fraternity house opened in the Fall of 2015. It was built to accommodate 78 members. The house is owned by a local corporation of alumni, and students living there may stay until the end of the spring 2017 semester despite the fraternity's suspension. 

COLUMBIA — In a response Friday to allegations of MU's Delta Upsilon fraternity members using "date rape" drugs, the organization's executive director said none of the reported incidents was "pursued further" by police or the university.

The statement released Friday by Justin Kirk, executive director of the Delta Upsilon fraternity’s international office, came in response to a story in the Columbia Daily Tribune published Thursday night that included details about fraternity pledges being provided some type of date-rape drug and asked to use them on women as part of an initiation process.

Reports obtained Friday by the Missourian allege multiple incidents in the past year of hazing, physical abuse, using drugs to incapacitate women and providing alcohol to minors by members of Delta Upsilon fraternity.

“The allegations detailed in university documents are deeply concerning, and Delta Upsilon will not condone or tolerate such alleged activities,” Kirk said. “The International Fraternity is learning of some of these alleged incidents for the first time, while others have already been adjudicated by the university and fraternity.”

Kirk said there haven’t been any reports of sexual assault against the chapter, and a Columbia police spokeswoman said Friday there were no pending investigations of the fraternity involving sexual assault.

*In a statement posted on the fraternity's website Saturday, Kirk said allegations "that fraternity associate members received pills to be used to incapacitate and rape women were rumors found to be unsubstantiated by the university" and called the rumors "disgusting and egregious."

MU spokesman Christian Basi said Saturday he could not comment "at this time" on Kirk's latest statement.

Delta Upsilon is in the jurisdiction of Columbia police, as is all private property in Greek Town. 

The fraternity was suspended Sept. 28 by its international office and MU after members allegedly harassed and used racist slurs against members of the Legion of Black Collegians near the fraternity's house at 711 Tiger Ave. 

The LBC incident falls under MU police jurisdiction because it happened on the sidewalk, technically university property. Anything that happens in the house or on the property is under Columbia police jurisdiction, Larimer said. MU police Maj. Brian Weimer said the same thing about MU police department's jurisdiction.

Delta Upsilon has been sanctioned by MU 18 times over the past year, according to the documents. The fraternity is being investigated by the offices of Student Conduct and Civil Rights and Title IX, Basi said Friday.

*On Saturday, Kirk said the only active university investigations into the chapter are a Title IX investigation into members' alleged involvement in the LBC incident and a Student Conduct investigation into alcohol violations from a Sept. 16 event with two other fraternities.

MU Title IX Administrator Ellen Eardley told members of Delta Upsilon fraternity in a letter that the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX received a report Aug. 22 alleging fraternity members were giving each pledge three pills so they could “drug women for the purpose of incapacitating them prior to engaging in sexual activity.”

Interfraternity Council President Ben Baker said the council does not issue sanctions to fraternities.

Reports since start of school year

At 8:11 p.m. on Sept. 16, MU police responded to a woman in Johnston Hall who was naked from the waist down, appeared to be very intoxicated and was spreading feces on the wall outside of her room. She told police that she had been to a party at the Delta Upsilon house earlier that night and that other people had made drinks for her.

On Sept. 10, a female student tripped and hit her head in Gillette Hall. She didn’t want to be taken to the hospital for her injuries but told a Department of Residential Life staff member that she had been drinking at Delta Upsilon that night.

That same night, Columbia police were dispatched to the house two other times. The department received a call at 12:43 a.m. about a female who had drunk too much at the fraternity house, according to police documents. At 1:19 a.m. another caller reported that a male had been pushed down the house stairs.

Later that night, a police officer pulled over a car around 2:31 a.m for driving the wrong way down Curtis Avenue, a one-way street in Greek Town. A passenger of the car ran from the scene and into the Delta Upsilon house before the officer could begin his investigation. The driver of the car said that he was a sober driver for the fraternity and that the passenger who fled was a fraternity brother. The driver was ticketed, but the passenger was not located by police.

For these incidents, the fraternity received university disciplinary probation, alcohol event probation and a ban on alcohol in the chapter house. Members were instructed to attend an alcohol education program and write a book review of “Guyland” by Michael Kimmel, a book about navigating the transition from boyhood to manhood. The fraternity also had to attend a disciplinary hearing and a follow-up meeting, as well as pay a $500 judicial processing fee.

Hard liquor — defined as a drink with an alcohol content greater than 15 percent — is forbidden at fraternity houses effective for the fall 2015 semester. The ban was enacted after months of research and debate among IFC after a Chancellor's Summit on Sexual Assault and Student Safety in Greek Life. All violations are passed to the Office of Student Conduct for discipline. 

In the reports, other allegations against the fraternity include:

  • Possession of alcoholic beverages and controlled substances on Aug. 27.

  • Threatening or intimidating behaviors, failure to comply or resisting arrest, and theft of on-campus property on April 13.

  • Violating student conduct and possession or distribution of alcohol or controlled substance on Aug. 25, 2015.

  • Physical abuse and threatening conduct, violation of university equal education/employment policy, violation of university regulations, hazing and providing alcohol to a minor on Aug. 22, 2015.

The Office of Greek Life referred all questions to the MU News Bureau.

MU Delta Upsilon chapter president Austyn Bair didn’t respond to requests for a comment.

Reputation on campus

Dozens of students told the Missourian on Friday they've heard about bad things happening at the Delta Upsilon house. Some said they had heard stories about the fraternity hazing new members and using drugs to incapacitate women. Many said they hoped the stories were just rumors.

When Meg Vatterott was a freshman, she said others advised her to avoid parties at Delta Upsilon. Vatterott, now a senior, said she hasn’t heard anything about active members giving pledges pills but wasn’t surprised by the allegations.

“When I read the allegations (Friday), I was kind of disappointed because I thought that after getting a new house and getting in trouble the past year or so that maybe things would’ve changed,” Vatterott said.

Senior Polly Haun said she’s heard since freshman year that Delta Upsilon was known for putting things in women’s drinks.

Some students said that kind of characterization was unfair to Delta Upsilon. Rylee Schmitt, a sophomore, said she always felt safe at the fraternity's parties. 

Delta Upsilon opened a new house in fall 2015 that accommodates 78 members. According to the fraternity's international website, there are 142 members of MU's chapter.

Missourian reporters Taylor Blatchford and Ruth Serven contributed to this article.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

  • I'm a public health and safety reporter for the Columbia Missourian. You can reach me at elizabethloutfi@mizzou.edu or give me a follow @ElizabethLoutfi.

  • I'm on the Public Health and Safety team for fall 2016 and studying print and digital journalism and environmental science. You can reach me at katiepohlman@gmail.com or via phone at 301-529-9911.

  • Spring 2018 advanced reporter covering the Community beat. I am a final-semester senior studying print and digital reporting. Reach me at hannahblack@mail.missouri.edu, and follow me on Twitter @hannahcblack.

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