A Butler University fraternity has been given a cease and desist letter to halt all operations until an investigation of an alleged sexual assault can be completed.
The office of student affairs ordered members of Phi Kappa Psi to stop operations on Sept. 15 so that the Butler University Police Department can continue its investigation regarding a sexual assault that occurred on Sept. 11 on the property.
Under the cease and desist on operations, members of the fraternity are allowed to sleep and eat in the house, but cannot hold social events or activities.
“This was not an indictment of the fraternity,” assistant chief of police Andrew Ryan said. “This was just to say that there was an assault that happened at that location.”
It is unusual for a Greek organization to stop operations, said dean of student life Irene Stevens. Stevens said it has been about five years since
Butler issued a similar order.
“It would have to be a pretty serious incident before we would send a cease and desist letter like we did in this case,” Stevens said.
Levester Johnson, vice president of student affairs, said that he makes the call whether or not to stop the operations.
“We have those from time to time where there’s a moment where we all say ‘What’s really going on here?’ and we have to stop things to get that question answered,” Johnson said. “So right now, we’re trying to find the answers.”
There have been cases of sexual assault where fraternities or sororities did not have to stop operations, and it is a case-by-case decision, Johnson said.
“There can be one serious thing where the bar has just been crossed or it could be a series of instances that have shown us a pattern or a history that needs to be addressed,” Johnson said.
Other instances where a similar order could be issued are cases of serious hazing, a “culture of dealing drugs at the house” or a major repeated problem with alcohol violations, Stevens said.
The incident on Sept. 11 is being investigated under police sergeant Tony Rivera.
Both Chief of Police Ben Hunter and Ryan said that since the investigation is ongoing, their department is unable to comment on the specifics of the case.
When the investigation wraps up, the case will be turned over to the office of student affairs, which will complete its own investigation to determine how to handle the situation.
As of press time, no case regarding the incident had been turned over to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department or the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.
To Ryan’s knowledge, no sexual assault case that occurred at the university has been turned over to the court system.
Shawn Collinsworth, the national executive director of Phi Kappa Psi, said the fraternity voluntarily stopped operations in cooperation with the university’s investigation.
“We are always happy to help with campus administration in situations like these,” Collinsworth said. “We’re not shut down. We’ve simply voluntarily stopped operations in accordance with the university and the investigation.”
It is important to note, Collinsworth said, that members of the fraternity have not been directly linked to the investigation.
“Obviously, in situations like this, where something has happened on chapter property, we run the risk of it damaging the reputation of the chapter and of the fraternity,” Collinsworth said. “We want to make sure that all houses are safe for both men and women, so we’re doing all we can to cooperate and work with the investigators as they move forward.”
It has been released that BUPD has a person of interest—a male student—but more details were not released as of press time.
It is unclear when the investigation will be completed.