Zeta Psi is being investigated for suspected drugs at a January frat night in London, Ontario.

Investigations are ongoing into a January fraternity party in London, Ont., where several women claim they were drugged and had to be taken to hospital, CBC News has learned.

The Zeta Psi house party, located at 116 Mill Street in central London, featured an open bar. It was held to celebrate which men would be admitted into the fellowship, with only Zeta Psi men being allowed to attend. Sorority women and their friends were also invited.

A woman told CBC that she attended the party and had four or five drinks.

The woman, who did not want her name used for fear of reprisal, said friends eventually called an ambulance to take her to hospital because she was incoherent, which she said did not have never lived before drinking. She also said she had no recollection of much of the night, but believes a drug was slipped into her drink.

“This should be taken seriously,” the woman said. “The only way to deter this kind of behavior and stop it is for the school to punish these people harshly because if they are allowed to get away with it, if they see no consequences, they could potentially perpetrate this again. .”

The party came four months after several Western University students said they were drugged during residence orientation week. It led to a police investigation, a rally of thousands to protest misogyny and rape culture on campus, and called on the university to find ways to help tackle gender-based and sexual violence. .

“All gender-based and sexual violence is deplorable and we will not tolerate it,” Chris Alleyne, one of Western’s vice presidents, said in a statement to CBC this week.

Alleyne added that “everyone must play a role in solving this societal problem and stopping this kind of violence from happening.”

Sororities and fraternities are not officially affiliated with the university, but their members are exclusively Western students.

“I was really shocked that this happened after the heightened awareness in September,” the woman who believes she was drugged told CBC News. “There was the walkout, a lot of stuff on social media discouraging that kind of behavior, and then it happens again.”

WATCH | Western students came out last fall to protest against misogyny and so-called rape culture:

Western University students protest campus culture

Thousands of Western University students walked out of class on Friday to protest misogyny and rape culture, and to support survivors of sexual violence on campus. It comes after four women filed formal complaints of being sexually assaulted at the University of London, Ontario, and there have been allegations of numerous other assaults. 2:08

While in hospital, the woman said, a doctor and nurses told her there were other women from the same party, and she spoke to at least one other who thinks she also been drugged.

According to the woman, doctors at University Hospital, part of London Health Sciences Center (LHSC), refused to do a drug test that night to help her determine what, if anything, , could have been slipped into his drink. They refused again two days later when she went to get a doctor’s note for her teachers, she said.

The woman eventually called Western Student Health Services. She said a doctor told her to come immediately and tested her urine. The results showed the presence of an opioid that she said she had not taken. CBC News has seen the results of the drug test.

The woman reported the incident to London police, who told CBC they were still investigating.

The Panhellenic Council, which oversees sororities at Western University, is also investigating, but declined to comment.

In a memo obtained by CBC News, the sorority council wrote to its member sororities following the party and drug allegations:

“All of the sorority presidents have met about this issue and have collectively decided to cancel all events with Zeta, indefinitely, and discourage members from attending events at their homes.”

The sorority council added that it takes the incident “very seriously”, which it believes “all women are involved” and encourages people to refrain from discussing the incident with others within of their sororities or fraternities in order to avoid gossip.

There has been no visible response from the sisterhood, women who spoke to CBC said. Zeta Psi’s motto is “Sorority tested. Mother approved.” The Western University chapter was established in 1947. The fraternity’s Instagram page shows events and road trips that have taken place since January. A message from April congratulates newly initiated members and says, “Welcome to the Jungle Boys.”

Asked about the drug allegations and the fraternity’s response, Tyler Boisvert, its international executive director, wrote in an email: “Zeta Psi is aware of serious allegations and an investigation is ongoing. The alleged actions are contrary to the values ​​of the Zeta Psi fraternity. , Inc. It is Zeta Psi’s policy not to provide information regarding an investigation.”

Local leaders did not respond to requests for comment.

Another woman who said she was at the party, but not drinking, said she saw several women getting sick and being carried by friends. The woman, who also did not want her name used for fear of reprisal, said it was particularly worrying that members of the Zeta Psi fraternity marched alongside women calling for an end to sexual violence in September .

“They just feed the culture,” she said. “You support victims in the community but say nothing when the allegations involve your fraternity? I would be disappointed and embarrassed to carry my fraternity letters knowing these are people you are meant to form lifelong friendships with. ”

“Incredibly disempowering”

Annalize Trudell leads Western University’s education programs that were set up in the wake of the September allegations.

Trudell works for Anova, a London organization that works to prevent gender-based violence.

The story of the January party is “shocking” and it’s disappointing that the woman and others weren’t tested for drugs at University Hospital, Trudell said of the allegations.

“Although in this particular circumstance she was not sexually assaulted, we would classify it as a form of sexual violence because she was targeted because of her gender, and something happened to her against her consent and her will.

A woman whose identity CBC News is not using because she fears reprisal says she believes she was drugged at a frat night in London, Ont., in January. (Kate Dubinski/CBC)

“The effect of this is very similar in many ways, in that it feels incredibly disempowering. It feels like a violation – something has been done to your body that you weren’t aware of, and now you’re trying to recover and figure out the different pieces, how they line up and how you move forward to make your body feel like it’s yours again.”

Before being discharged from hospital the following morning, the woman who believes she was drugged said the hospital told her she could contact the hospital’s specialized regional sexual assault and domestic violence center St. Joseph to pass a sexual assault exam and a drug test. However, the woman said she did not contact the hospital center straight away because she did not believe she had been sexually assaulted.

She said she returned to University Hospital two days later for a doctor’s note for her professors, and again requested a drug test, but was again refused. When she called St. Joseph’s, she said, she was told that if she wanted a drug test, she would have to take a sexual assault test and commit to going to court, which that she didn’t want to do.

That information is false, said Cassandra Fisher, coordinator of the Sexual Assault Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“We’re here 24/7, and we’re giving people options and they can choose how they want to move forward,” Fisher said. “If someone doesn’t know if they’ve been sexually assaulted, we give them options because we want them to know this is a place they can come, and we can also give them community resources. ”

Drug tests are done if needed to help doctors and nurses understand how to care for a patient in the emergency room, said citywide emergency medicine chief Dr Christie MacDonald. for the LHSC. There are 700 drugs that could be used for drug-facilitated sexual assault, and there is no one test for all of them, she added.

However, this case, involving more than one woman in the emergency room at the same time, will serve as an educational tool for the future, she added.

“From my point of view, a case like this is a good reminder to our staff that we are considering further testing. If there is an opportunity to use a test, we should do it. We would not test 700 different aspects, but we could choose two or three to test, something I will review with our staff.

Necessary responsibility

The woman who told CBC she believed she was drugged said she did not believe there would be criminal charges because it is impossible to say who might be responsible.

Jennifer Quaid, a lawyer specializing in sexual assault law, said the case would be difficult to prosecute in the criminal justice system.

“At the end of the day, you have to point the finger at someone. Who should answer for what happened there? You have to stop thinking that criminal law can fix everything that happens. You have to think about why this situation was created in the first place. The conversation that should take place is: “What preventative measures can be put in place?”

Trudel agrees.

“I think it would be incredibly difficult to use the criminal justice system as a form of recourse here, but I don’t think that’s the only solution,” Quaid said. “Something happened here that the brotherhood must be responsible for.”

In October, Western University’s student government voted to remove special fraternity and sorority privileges, such as the ability to hold on-campus recruiting events or rent space at a reduced rate.

In her statement, Alleyne also said Western would use “the full force” of its policies on gender-based violence and its student code of conduct to deal with incidents like the one described by the woman who spoke to CBC News.

“We encourage any student who experiences this type of violence – regardless of where it occurs – to seek supports on and off campus and, if they wish and are able, to file a complaint under our policy on gender-based and sexual violence and with the London Police Service,” said the Associate Vice President of Housing and Ancillary Services and Acting Associate Vice President (Student Experience).

“I cannot stress enough that everyone must play a role in solving this societal problem and preventing this type of violence from happening.”