Clemson fraternities suspend activities after reported sexual assault

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate a reported sexual assault at a Clemson University fraternity house Monday.

All Clemson fraternity social events are on pause due to the active investigation.

The Clemson University Police Department notified the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office around 12:30 a.m. Saturday about a reported sexual assault at the Delta Chi fraternity house on D Morris Way in Seneca, said Jimmy Watt, public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy arrived early Saturday and spoke with the victim at Delta Chi, which is roughly 5 miles away from Clemson’s campus.

Watt declined to disclose any specifics about the investigation and would not say whether or not the suspect is a student at Clemson.

“We have released all that we plan to release at this time,” Watt said. “From what I know and have seen, I don’t think there is any threat to the public at this time.”

Clemson’s Interfraternity Council President Landon Flowers said in a statement Sunday the council’s executive board met to discuss the alleged assault and is committed to “holding our members to a higher standard.”

“Therefore, we are suspending all social activities at fraternity houses effective immediately,” Flowers said. “This suspension will be effective until necessary measures are taken.”

The Interfraternity Council is a self-governing, student-run entity and doesn’t need university approval to take action like this, Flowers said. He said he didn’t recall the IFC ever putting a hold on fraternity parties, either.

The seven-member executive board met around 10 a.m. Sunday to discuss how to handle the incident, Flowers said. No one objected to suspending all fraternity activities while the police continue the investigation, he said.

“We felt, at the time, it was necessary to take action,” Flowers said Monday in an interview. “We were all in agreeance — it wasn’t hard to persuade anybody.”

In 2016, 10 forcible sex offenses were reported to the Clemson University Police Department. Nationally, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. 

Fraternity members at Clemson attend seminars each semester to talk about sexual assault and consent, Flowers said.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a huge issue at Clemson, but it’s an issue throughout the United States,” Flowers said. “It’s something we definitely talk about and it’s a necessary thing to talk about.”

Clemson encourages victims of sexual assault to utilize the university’s resources and feel confident in reporting sexual violence, said Mark Land, vice president of university relations.

The Clemson University Police Department, Office of Community and Ethical Standards,Counseling and Psychological Services and Redfern Health Center offer a variety of services for students, Land said.

“I can’t say this strongly enough — there is nothing more important than the safety of our students,” Land said. “They will get the kind of support that they need from the university. … We’re going to be there to help them through this.”

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