U.S.C. Requiring Security Guards Near Bedrooms During Greek Life Parties Following Assault Scandal

·3 min read
USC campus
USC campus

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty USC campus

The University of Southern California is implementing new security protocols at fraternity and sorority parties in an effort to mitigate "risk" following last fall's sexual assault scandal.

In a newly published letter, the school's Working Group on Interfraternity Council (IFC) Culture, Prevention, and Accountability shared in part that each chapter "will uphold the policy restricting socializing to common areas of the recognized chapter facility and will strengthen its practice by requiring the posting of security not only at entry points and gathering areas, but also at stairs or hallways leading to bedrooms."

"With over 4,000 students participating in fraternities and sororities, the Greek community serves an important role in many of our students' sense of belonging," the letter said. "However, it is clear that social environments within the IFC community require enhanced attention to safety planning and risk prevention."

The new initiatives come three months after USC's Epsilon Omicron chapter of the Sigma Nu fraternity announced in a statement on Instagram that its president was no longer a member of the fraternity, pending a full investigation. Six students told the school that their drinks were spiked at a party in September and at least one student alleged she was sexually assaulted.

The former fraternity member was identified as Ryan Schiffilea, per CBS Los Angeles and KTLA, which both cited the Los Angeles Police Department.

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USC fraternities
USC fraternities

Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Sigma Nu fraternity USC chapter

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Schiffilea was suspended by both the Sigma Nu chapter at USC and by the national fraternity after being questioned by police, who identified him as a suspect in the sexual assault, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Schiffilea was the chapter president, according to CBS Los Angeles, and had not been arrested or charged, the Times reported. A representative for the LAPD did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment at the time.

According to a statement from USC's Department of Public Safety, the university also received reports from five students who alleged that drugs were placed into their drinks during a party at the Sigma Nu fraternity house in September, leading "to possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults."

KTLA, which was able to gain access to the incident log from USC's Department of Public Safety, reported that an unnamed student alleged that she was sexually assaulted after someone drugged her while she was attending a party at the frat house on Sept. 27.

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USC's letter went on to say that once chapters meet all the conditions of their "Phased Return to Social Gatherings" — which includes up to two social gatherings per month starting Feb. 3 — "they may return to a full calendar of social activities after March 3."

Additionally, all members of every IFC chapter must complete USC's required prevention education workshops, the release read.

Social activities at all of USC's fraternity and sorority chapters were suspended last fall following the allegations, with several of the chapters being placed on interim suspension.

"Our community must work together to end sexual assault on our campuses," USC Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs Charles F. Zukoski said in a recent letter. "We appreciate everyone who brings forward concerns and reports sexual assault and other issues impacting safety and well-being, and we understand how difficult this can be.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.