Dartmouth communicating with Stanford regarding drugging incident investigation
Dartmouth is in communication and cooperation with Stanford University regarding a Title IX investigation of an incident at Stanford’s Sigma Chi fraternity house on Friday, College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an email statement. Though the College does not have any specific information about the allegation, according to Lawrence, the suspected drugging incident may involve a student affiliated with Dartmouth, as anonymous sources have claimed to both the Stanford Daily and the Fountain Hopper, an independent Stanford news email list. The Dartmouth has been unable to independently corroborate the specific allegations in the reporting of either publication.
On Tuesday, the Fountain Hopper and the Stanford Daily reported an alleged drugging of seven Stanford students, including five members of Pi Beta Phi, a fraternity for women, and two members of the Stanford men’s rowing team, at a fraternity party at Sigma Chi. The Stanford Daily also reported that anonymous Sigma Chi staffers said that the alleged victims’ symptoms were similar to the effects of “Xanax or a similar benzodiazepine.” Benzodiazepines are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, among other uses; in addition to Xanax, they include the drug rohypnol, often called a “date rape” drug.
The Fountain Hopper reported that the suspect was a visiting member of one of Dartmouth’s crew teams who was present at the party. The Stanford Daily reported that an email memo from Pi Phi claimed the suspect was “loosely affiliated with Stanford Men’s Rowing” but was not a Stanford student.
While the incident occurred last Friday, Stanford’s Department of Public Safety did not receive a report until Tuesday, department spokesperson Bill Larson said. E.J. Miranda, Stanford’s senior director of media relations, wrote in an email that the case is also being investigated by the university’s Title IX office and that a Notice of Investigation has been issued to the alleged perpetrator, barring him from being on Stanford’s campus or property and from contacting those who were present at the party.
Larson said investigators are currently speaking with people who had symptoms and trying to identify whether a drugging incident took place.
“We do not know if there were drugs introduced,” he said. “It’s only alleged at this time … It was a party and there was alcohol involved and sometimes students drink too much.”
If there was a crime committed, Larson said the Stanford Department of Public Safety will submit a case to the Stanford dean’s office. If a suspect can be identified, the case will be submitted to the local district attorney’s office, which will determine whether or not to prosecute, he said.
“The reports shared from those who attended an open house event on Friday night are very concerning,” wrote Pi Beta Phi president Lauren Maymar in an email statement.
She added that the fraternity is “partnering with the University to learn more” and will support the individuals affected.
Men’s heavyweight rowing head coach Wyatt Allen wrote in an email statement that he is “aware of the incident at Stanford and the ongoing investigation” but has no further details or facts. Athletic director Harry Sheehy and men’s lightweight rowing head coach Sean Healey did not respond to multiple emails seeking comment.
Zachary Benjamin and Alexa Green contributed reporting.
Correction Appended (Jan. 18, 2018):
The Jan. 18 article "Dartmouth communicating with Stanford regarding drugging incident investigation" was updated to correct an error in Allen's statement.