Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) and Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) hosted parties last quarter that led to reported sexual assaults and were punished differently due to disparities between the cases and the fraternities’ histories of judicial violations.
Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey contributed to the determination of the fraternities’ sanctions.
“Every case is different,” Humphrey said. “On the surface, they may seem like they are the exact same things, but they’re not.”
AGR was mostly punished for violating the party registration policy and hosting an event that led to a potentially dangerous environment, according to soil science junior and AGR President Brad Kurtz.
“The reason I think AGR might not have been punished as severely could be because a general lack of incidents in the past, and we have a good track record on campus,” Kurtz said. “We are very involved and we contribute in any way we can.”
Below are some of the differences between the cases.
History of each fraternity
The language used in the statements about why each fraternity received its punishment was almost exactly the same, yet the consequences were so different partly because the university considers the fraternity’s history of judicial violations, such as party violations and sexual assault, before determining sanction.
According to Humphrey, the process that the university goes through to determine appropriate sanctions involves looking at the responsibility of the organization of a specific incident, whether the responsibility for that incident is in question and then looking at the entire history of the organization.
“Some organizations have a lengthier history in the Dean of Students judicial system than others,” Humphrey said. “That might be why you’re seeing different responses from the university.”
According to Dean of Students Jean DeCosta, sanctions are determined by a number of factors, and each incident is investigated on its own merit.
“To some extent, it’s true that we have a history,” business administration senior and PIKE president Nick Lench said. “We have made some mistakes.”
When the sexual assault at the PIKE party was reported, the university sent out a campuswide crime email alert. After the university learned of the sexual assault at the party hosted by AGR, it did not send out a campuswide announcement.
The email that the university sent out to the campus after the PIKE-affiliated party read:
“On November 1, 2014 a woman reported being sexually assaulted the late evening hours of October 31, 2014 at an off campus party hosted by the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity located at 740 W. Foothill Blvd. Reporting person indicated drugs were possibly provided without her knowledge, rendering her unconscious. When the survivor awoke a white male with blond hair and blue eyes with the first name of Jake was engaging in sexual activity without her consent.”
According to the Clery Act, when a crime occurs poses a serious or ongoing threat to the community, the university will notify as many people as possible. The University Police Department (UPD) is responsible for issuing timely campuswide warnings or emergency notifications when needed.
“I thought it was interesting that it was deemed as serious for our case but not AGR’s, even though they are such similar incidents,” Lench said. “AGR’s house is right next to campus, right next to the local community.”
According to UPD Chief George Hughes, some factors that determine if there is an ongoing threat to the community include:
- when the incident occurred and when it was reported to UPD
- whether it was a one-time occurrence or likely to happen again
- if the suspect is known
- if the threat has been mitigated
- if it will interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation
- if it was determined that a crime did not occur
“In the case of the timely warning that occurred for the PIKE incident, it was determined there was an ongoing and continuing threat to the campus community,” Hughes said. “In the case of the AGR incident, it was determined that there was not an ongoing threat to the campus community.”
Registered vs. non-registered parties
The party that led to AGR’s social probation was not a registered party, but the party that led to PIKE’s suspension was.
According to Lench, the university rejected AGR’s request to host a party, but the fraternity hosted the party anyway. Kurtz declined to comment on the matter.
In an email interview, Humphrey said it would be inappropriate to comment on specific issues.
“In my career, I have never seen two cases present with the same set of facts,” Humphrey said. When a decision is made, the facts relating to the incident at hand are the only relevant pieces of information that are considered.”
The university is currently reviewing PIKE’s appeal. Since the suspension, PIKE has not hosted any social events and is planning to do some form of sexual assault prevention training, the details of which are still being finalized, Lench said.
AGR had the opportunity to appeal to the university but chose not to, according to Kurtz. The fraternity worked alongside DeCosta and other school administrators to develop the terms of their punishment, including mandatory sexual assault prevention and risk management courses.
“We understand when we made a mistake and we are willing to accept responsibilities for our actions,” Kurtz said. “We understand that there needs to be some repercussions.”