Alleged sexual assault leads to a fraternity suspension



Following a Halloween party at an off-campus house affiliated with Cal Poly fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, a woman reported being sexually assaulted at the house, and the university responded by suspending the fraternity.

Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president of student affairs, wrote in a statement that the party included “many intoxicated attendees,” and a Halloween detail of law enforcement officers responded to the house at 740 W. Foothill Blvd. The officers shut the party down after receiving noise complaints, Humphrey added.

“When we learned of the reported sexual assault and the number of individuals who had over-consumed alcohol, we took immediate action and suspended all activities of the fraternity chapter,” Humphrey wrote. “This kind of behavior has no place at Cal Poly, and we are in the process of conducting a full university investigation.”

According to university spokesman Matt Lazier, Pi Kappa Alpha has a history of disciplinary problems.

In response to a query from New Times, Lazier wrote in an email that the Cal Poly chapter was placed on social suspension from August 2012 through January 2013 after YouTube videos surfaced implicating frat members in “possible illegal drug use, serving alcohol to minors, sponsoring a large unruly gathering, and demonstrating misogynistic behaviors.”

The chapter had also been on social probation since school started this fall through Oct. 20 for hosting unregistered events earlier in 2014. The chapter was already on “restricted status” before their blanket suspension kicked in on Nov. 1.

In addition, Lazier said the national Pi Kappa Alpha organization has placed the Cal Poly chapter on administrative suspension—beginning Nov. 3 and lasting no more than 30 days—at which time the organization will make a decision “regarding the permanent status of the chapter’s charter.”

In a campus-wide email “crime alert” sent on the evening of Nov. 1, authorities stated that, “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.”

After initial involvement from the University Police Department and the SLO Police Department, it’s been determined the alleged assault—which was said to have occurred at the off-campus frat house—lies in the jurisdiction of the SLO County Sheriff’s Office.

“As of late on Nov. 4, this alleged assault is an active criminal investigation, and we are conducting interviews and talking to all parties who were involved,” sheriff’s office spokesman Tony Cipolla told New Times. “We are still in the early stages of our investigation.”

Cipolla added that deputies spoke with the alleged victim on Nov. 2.

“We are working with all parties and trying to reach the same goal, which is to reduce the numbers of assaults in and around campus,” Cipolla said.

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