Sigma Nu is currently under investigation following the allegations. photo by Anna Johns

Petition circulates following alleged drink drugging at Sigma Nu

Earlier this week, junior Gillian McPhail created a petition titled: “Sigma Nu should not be allowed to have parties or other Greek functions.” Within the first day of its creation, the petition amassed over 400 signatures; 470 people have signed as of publishing.

In its description, the petition explains that on Sept. 25, Sigma Nu hosted a party and that individuals “both in and out of Greek life came out after the party and said publicly they were roofied.” Some of these victims reported these allegations to campus security, who is in the process of investigating the situation. Despite the reports of drink tampering and an active investigation by campus authorities, Sigma Nu nonetheless held a tailgate on Oct. 9 for the Homecoming game.

Regarding this tailgate, the petition states, “This is unacceptable and they should have already not been [sic] allowed while the investigation is ongoing. It has caused many of the victims to feel unheard and unsupported by the TU administration.”

Furthermore, the petition pleads for TU to forbid Sigma Nu’s parties and Greek functions, as the lack of action sets a precedent for future situations and affects students’ mental and physical health.

The Collegian reached out to campus security for comment, but they refused to disclose anything further and directed questions to Mona Chamberlin, spokeswoman for TU and senior executive director of marketing and communications.

On behalf of TU, Chamberlin issued the following statement to the Collegian:

“The safety of University of Tulsa students is our top priority, and we take allegations of possible drink tampering very seriously. Campus Security and the Office of the Dean of Students are conducting independent investigations of one such report. While we cannot discuss this specific case, we encourage anyone with related information or a similar experience to contact the Office of the Dean of Students.”

The Collegian approached Sigma Nu, who is directing comments through the fraternity’s headquarters and has not provided a response as of yet.

McPhail details her experience with the Sigma Nu situation. “I wasn’t there that night, but I have a few friends that were,” she says in an interview. “One of them told me they were given a drink, and they took a sip. It tasted like metal, and they knew immediately that something was wrong and got as many girls out as possible.”

The Collegian reached out to the accuser McPhail mentions to corroborate these allegations. This individual, who wishes to remain anonymous, confirmed that they make the allegation. They recounted their frustrations with TU’s response to suspected drink tampering and the subsequent lack of accountability or investigation into these accusations.

McPhail also felt appalled by the lack of action, mainly because people were emailing the university about this, and TU still offered no information. The Sigma Nu tailgate then spurred her to create a petition and spread awareness regarding the situation.

“People didn’t know about [the allegations]. A lot is under wraps, but I want to help the people who were harmed to have justice. Many people are having the same response, even if they don’t know [the victims] personally,” McPhail continues. “I hope there are more consequences than what there is right now.”

The Sigma Nu situation harkens to earlier this summer when TU Law student Sarah Marshall detailed her experience dealing with TU as a sexual assault survivor. According to her Instagram story, TU gave the perpetrator a year to complete “a few online trainings, 25 hours of community service, and a consent workshop.”

McPhail was vocal about the Sarah Marshall case, and because it happened this summer, she expected TU to react to the Sigma Nu allegations with more proactivity. Though TU has responded to this scene “better than they have before,” she believes they are doing the bare minimum. “There needs to be more done,” she concludes.

The university conducted a Campus Climate Survey for 2020-2021, but these statistics are not yet available. However, the 2019-2020 Executive Summary Statistics reveal that 76 percent of assaults committed that school year occurred on campus. 41.1 percent of survivors participated in Greek Life, and 86 percent of perpetrators were also Greek Life members. Of course, these statistics do not cover all student experiences because only 13.8 percent of campus finished this survey, but the amount of Greek life women who experienced assault is significant. Instagram accounts like @stripyourlettersutulsa continue to advocate more awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault and rape culture within TU’s Greek Life.

Regarding frat culture at TU, McPhail says, “I’m in a sorority. I’m in Tri Delta, and I go to frat parties. I’ve been groped before at a frat party—that’s normalized, and it shouldn’t be.”

She continues, “Frat guys are expected to have major parties, drink a lot and have a lot of girls—this pressure can cause a lot of things like the Sigma Nu situation. I’m not excusing what they’re doing, but frat culture is so toxic and is an aspect of toxic masculinity. I’m not saying all frat members are horrible people; it’s the fraternity and sorority system in general that causes a lot of pressure to follow up the expectations seen in movies and other sources of media.”

McPhail reaffirms that she did not create the petition to criticize the investigative process or those in charge of conducting the investigation. “I want to fix things, even if my voice isn’t super loud,” she says. “I was so surprised that I got so many signatures [on the petition] very quickly because there wasn’t a post on Instagram. It was nice to know I’m not the only one who cares about this—there are so many people in the TU community that do.”

Compliance Officer and Campus Safety, Violence Prevention Program Director Kelsey Hancock offers her advice about safe conduct as a partygoer and party-thrower.

“For the partygoer, we know the adage of going as a group and having a plan,” Hancock says. “Know who you’re going with, have everyone’s numbers and make sure your phones are fully charged. Having your phone charged means you have an outside link to communication, as long as you’re not separated from your phone or the group in general.”

Having a plan for entrance and exit is helpful, as well as a sober party that can help the group if any unsafe situations arise. “Sometimes when alcohol is involved, we don’t see or notice the things that could be considered red flags by our sober minds,” Hancock continues.

She also advises partygoers to observe good drinking rules. One should alternate their drinks, meaning having an alcoholic beverage then following it with water. Pregaming should generally be avoided. Plan before the party: have a full meal and get some sleep beforehand. And, at the party, one should try to make their own drinks and avoid drinking games or the rules of games revolving around drinking.

“Please be of age when you’re abiding because otherwise you can get in trouble,” Hancock says. “However, if you are underage and an emergency happens—whether that is a medical emergency or possible sexual assault—we have an amnesty clause, which means you can contact Campus Security and get help. We don’t want somebody getting sick or hurt because they happen to be underage.”

For the party-thrower, it is important for them to go through the proper channels before hosting an event. For those living in a neighborhood, they may have to get a noise permit. However, on campus, Hancock details that most places hosting parties must submit a party request form, where one registers the party, states who will be there and undergoes Bystander Intervention training.

Furthermore, Hancock abides by a risk management system. This means the party-thrower needs to have awareness of the situations that can occur throughout the night. Noise-level, especially, is important for knowing if someone calls for help. Sober monitors are also helpful for walking around and keeping bedrooms or hallways closed and having a code-word for emergencies helps everyone involved in hosting know how to handle a situation. She highly recommends serving snacks and nonalcoholic beverages for helping slow the absorption of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Currently, TU requires all freshmen complete Bystander Intervention training and all undergrads to undergo an alcohol safety training program. “You’re young and learning who you are, and many people haven’t been taught about alcohol safety or sexual assault mitigation,” Hancock says. “High schools and primary schools need to do a much better job of preparing their students. We’re playing catch up in a lot of ways.”

The Bystander Intervention training teaches four different methods: direct, delegate, distraction and indirect. “We always want intervention in a way that aligns with who you are and your personality,” she continues. “We want intervention in a way safest for you—other times, this means intervening from a distance or co-conspirators. Distraction is the best method, and lots of heartache has been saved by someone providing a distraction, which gives all involved in the situation some time to cool off or reconsider.” Bystander Intervention training emphasizes that the survivor is not at fault for their experience; the perpetrator is solely responsible.”

TU has survivor advocate, Pauli Younger, on campus who is completely confidential. Her supervisor is through Tulsa organization Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS), and they assist with referral and treatments for survivors. Virtual meetings with Younger are also possible.

“If a person wants to make an actual complaint, always start with Title IX,” Hancock states. “If it doesn’t rise to Title IX, then that’s a process observed through the Dean of Students. The best way, though, would be to submit a Cane Cares report or request a meeting to file a complaint.”

If you have questions regarding procedures, campus safety or survivor resources, please contact:

Pauli Younger (Kelly)
Survivor Advocate

Kathleen Smith
TIX Coordinator

Michael McClendon
Interim Dean of Students

CaneCares Report link

SafeZone App sign up

Post Author: Anna Johns