(Reuters) - A University of Washington fraternity has been ordered to suspend social activities at its off-campus house in Seattle after a female student reported she was raped there during an unauthorized party in which alcoholic beverages were served, officials said on Thursday.
Parties and other gatherings are on hold at the Zeta Psi fraternity while police investigate an alleged late-night sexual assault a week ago, police and university officials said.
The allegation comes the same month a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that sexual violence at U.S. colleges had reached epidemic levels. The survey, based on a survey of 483 participants, found more than 15 percent of young women at an unnamed private college in upstate New York disclosed a rape or attempted rape during their first year on campus.
The sexual assault claim at the University of Washington has triggered the first such investigation in at least three years at any of the 33 fraternities at the school, which has an undergraduate population of roughly 31,000, said James Ehrmann, assistant director of the college’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Ehrmann said Zeta Psi, which declined comment, had imposed the temporary moratorium on social gatherings in the aftermath of the rape allegation and a finding by the college’s Interfraternity Council that the fraternity had failed to register the event, which took place May 21 and involved alcohol.
Residents of fraternity houses who are 21 are allowed to consume alcohol in their rooms, but it is generally not allowed to serve or use alcohol in shared areas like living rooms where underage members or guests may be gathered, Ehrmann said.
The university notified students, staff and faculty on May 22 that Seattle police were investigating a rape after which a female friend had escorted the victim from “a residence” and phoned the police. The victim, identified by police as a student, was treated at a local hospital, university officials said.
About 47 rapes were reported in 2014 to police in Seattle, which has a population of more than 600,000, said Seattle Police Department Detective Patrick Michaud.
Reporting by Laura Zuckerman in Salmon, Idaho; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Walsh