The University and the Lawrence Police Department are investigating sexual assault allegations reported after a Kappa Sigma fraternity party this weekend at the chapter house, 1045 Emery Rd., according to a press release from the Lawrence Police Department.
Kappa Sigma fraternity was placed on interim suspension over the allegations, according to a press statement released by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little Wednesday morning.
"We took this action due to disturbing and serious allegations of sexual assault occurring during a party at this fraternity this past weekend,” Gray-Little said in the news release. “These allegations were reported to local law enforcement and to Institutional Opportunity and Access.”
Gray-Little approved the interim suspension on Tuesday evening and Kappa Sigma officially received a letter of suspension Wednesday morning, said Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, director of news and media relations. Suspension means Kappa Sigma cannot continue with fraternal activities, including chapter meetings.
"During this Interim Suspension (sic) the organization is ineligible to receive any additional services of the University or participate in any of its activities. I highly suggest that you suspend all Chapter activity. The Chapter membership in the Interfraternity Council is suspended," said the letter hand-delivered to Jack Schwartz, chapter president of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
The letter, from Tammara Durham, vice provost for Student Affairs, said the University became aware of allegations of sexual misconduct in the fraternity house on or about Sept. 28.
The letter said Kappa Sigma is entitled to a hearing within five days of being placed on interim suspension and in that time "the organization will have the opportunity to demonstrate why its continued presence on campus does not constitute a danger, or threat of danger, to others."
The University will gather facts related to allegations before the hearing, according to the letter. In the hearing, any necessary sanctions and permanent suspension will be determined.
Mitchell Wilson, executive director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity Headquarters in Charlottesville, Va., said he learned about the allegations Wednesday morning and an investigation has been launched to determine if there has been a violation of fraternity policy. He said he is unsure how much time they will need.
"If there is a situation that occurs, we go in, we investigate and we take the necessary actions," Wilson said.
A press release issued by the Lawrence Police Department at 4:35 p.m. Wednesday indicated that a student reported the sexual assault late Saturday evening. The LPD was contacted Monday morning with the allegation, including reference to sexual contact having occurred while the victim was impaired.
The release said detectives have been working to locate others who may have been at the party, or have information about what occurred. No arrests have been made at this time.
As of Thursday morning, Sgt. Trent McKinley said the LPD has a large number of investigators working on the ongoing case.
Captain James Anguiano from the KU Office of Public Safety said the office does not have any involvement in the fraternity's suspension and investigation.
Barcomb-Peterson said the University is not discussing specifics of the case to maintain the integrity of the investigations. She said now is when bystander intervention becomes critical.
Anyone with information about this particular case, or any other case, should contact the Lawrence Police Department at (785) 832-7509 and the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access at (785) 864-6414.
The University remains on the list of 76 other universities under investigation for handlings of sexual assault complaints.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
— Edited by Sarah Kramer