A sexual assault reported by a college-age woman last weekend reportedly took place at a fraternity on Monte Vista Place near the Cal Poly campus sometime late Friday or early Saturday, according to the San Luis Obispo Police Department.
The incident, as well as reports of two other assaults since October, spurred Cal Poly to put all fraternities and sororities at the university on temporary social probation Tuesday, preventing them from holding any social events indefinitely.
The alleged assault, involving a college-age male suspect and a college-age female victim, took place at a frat house on the 1200 block of Monte Vista, said police Capt. Keith Storton.
The specific address and fraternity, or additional details, aren’t being released as police continue to investigate, Storton said. Multiple fraternity houses line Monte Vista Place.
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Storton initially told The Tribune the incident took place Saturday night or early Sunday, but he said he was mistaken and that it occurred on Friday or Saturday.
A second sexual assault was reported to have occurred at the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity house at 132 California Blvd. toward the end of the fall quarter, which was Dec. 13, said Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president of student affairs.
Humphrey said the university temporarily suspended all Alpha Gamma Rho activities as it investigated the incident and other alleged violations, including an unapproved special event and alcohol offenses. Cal Poly is in the process of making a disciplinary ruling relating to Alpha Gamma Rho.
The first of the three reported sexual assaults is alleged to have taken place at a Halloween night party at Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) at 740 Foothill Blvd. where a woman reported being drugged and raped. The university has suspended the PIKE chapter for a minimum of six years.
Each of the three reported incidents concerns a male suspect and a female alleged victim.
The Sheriff’s Office has completed its investigation on the Halloween night incident and made no arrests, said spokesman Tony Cipolla.
“But the case was submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review and possible filing of charges,” Cipolla said. “It’s out of our hands and for the DA to decide whether to pursue charges.”
The San Luis Obispo Police Department is investigating the latest two incidents.
The three reports of sexual assaults spurred Cal Poly to temporarily suspend the university’s Greek system from holding social events until it comes up with a plan to change the existing culture. Cal Poly officials also cited extreme intoxication within the Greek community as a reason for the probation.
University officials are calling for Greek leaders to create a framework for a safer and healthier environment within 30 days. Student Greek leaders will meet for a summit this weekend, which will include developing wide-ranging improvements to prevent sexual assault, said Alex Horncliff, Cal Poly’s Interfraternity Council president.
“As we’ve seen in the past few months, there’s a problem with sexual assault,” Horncliff said. “That needs to be addressed. There has to be honesty within the chapters of pointing out faults.”
Details of the three alleged assaults and the circumstances of the incidents have not been released.
But Horncliff, who is a student assistant at Cal Poly’s Sexual Assault Free Environment Resource program, has given presentations to fraternities on the new “yes means yes” law relating to college campuses that requires explicit consent to engage in sexual activity.
“My main concern is stopping incidents from happening,” Horncliff said. “If that means social probation and taking big, bold steps, for change to happen, then I support it.”
Horncliff said the action plan will include engaging members of the Greek community, as well as students at large, with awareness about sexual assault in a multifaceted approach.
Students, including non-Greeks, need to be influenced and educated by the university, their chapter, and each other while most importantly taking responsibility for their own actions, he said.
Bystanders need to intervene when they see inappropriate behavior and “take ownership of the problem,” Horncliff said.
Cal Poly alerted the campus community to the PIKE incident through its campus-wide text alert system because an unknown suspect was at large, said Humphrey.
It did not alert the campus community of the other two incidents.
University police Chief George Hughes has some discretion to determine whether the campus community is at risk, which prompts an alert under the federal Clery Act.
Sometimes when a suspect and victim know each other, and the chief determines the incident doesn’t pose a safety risk, an alert isn’t required or sent out under the Clery Act, Humphrey said.
“In most of these cases, the person reporting says, ‘Yes, I know who this person is,’ ” Humphrey said. “And the police may then determine this individual is not a threat to the rest of the community. That’s what we know of the second and third incidents reported this year.”