Wesleyan University sanctioned the Psi Upsilon fraternity Monday for its role in at least two sexual assaults in recent years.
The disciplinary action comes just weeks ahead of the deadline for Wesleyan fraternities to submit plans for transitioning to coeducational institutions. Earlier this semester Wesleyan ordered the three frats at the Middletown, Connecticut private school to go coed or lose their official recognition. The Greek organizations must announce their intentions by the end of the semester.
Psi Upsilon was placed on probation effective immediately, which means that it cannot hold any social events through the end of 2015. A violation will result in the house being declared off limits, the university said.
"This action is consistent with our policies to support survivors, punish assailants and change the culture so as to eliminate elements that lead to sexual assault," wrote Wesleyan President Michael Roth and Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley in a campus-wide email, shared with The Huffington Post.
"To be clear, sexual assault is not only a problem of Greek organizations; it is a problem on campuses all over the country," the email continued. "Our university has the responsibility to provide a safe residential learning environment where all students can experience the freedom of a transformative education, wherever they live or choose to socialize."
The university cited two sexual assault incidents at Psi Upsilon: The first, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this year against Wesleyan, occurred in a common room in May 2013 in front of multiple witnesses. The assailant was dismissed from the university after being found responsible in that incident. The other sexual assault was reported this semester, the university said, but took place in fall 2011 at an unregistered pledge event. The school said that assailant has also been dismissed.
"Although this latest reported incident took place three years ago, when most current residents of the fraternity house were not yet associated with the organization, some sanction of the fraternity is appropriate," Roth and Whaley wrote. They added any campus-based organization sponsoring events that "create conditions with a higher risk of violence, including sexual assault, will be held accountable."
In response to the announcement, Thomas Fox, executive director of the national Psi Upsilon organization, said in an email to HuffPost that his office has had "no report of any incidents except for the alleged assault in May of 2013 which is still in litigation."
Another Wesleyan fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, is currently off-limits to students. The fraternity had been nicknamed a "rape factory," according to a lawsuit filed by a sexual assault victim against the organization and the school, which settled in September 2013.
The third fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, is not currently subject to any additional scrutiny. But DKE is clearly aware of the issue, having held educational events around preventing sexual assault and abuse earlier this semester in response to the lawsuits against the other houses.