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USC admits ‘troubling delay’ in warning about fraternity

October 30, 2021 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The president of the University of Southern California said there was a “troubling delay” in warning the campus community about allegations of drugging and sexual assault by a fraternity more than three weeks after receiving them.

A university confidential reporting program received five to seven disclosures of drugs being placed into drinks, leading to possible sexual assaults at the Sigma Nu fraternity in late September, but the university didn’t broadly share the information until Oct. 21, President Carol Folt wrote in a message to the campus community Friday night.

During this period, another student reported she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity on Oct. 16, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“We now know that there was a troubling delay in acting on this information, and specifically in evaluating it for notification to the community,” Folt wrote. “This has highlighted for me the gray area in our processes when reports come into (the reporting program), and the challenge of marrying a highly confidential support service, which may have limited details, with the need to inform and warn the community.”

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“As we learn more, there will be some things we can do quickly and others that will take more time. This is too important to not get right,” she added.

The university has since suspended the fraternity.

The allegations have sparked protests by numerous campus groups and are the latest in a series of recent scandals that have tarnished USC’s elite image.

USC was one of the universities embroiled in an admissions cheating scandal in which wealthy parents sought to get their children into college by falsely portraying them as star athletes. Dozens of parents and athletic coaches nationwide were charged in the investigation dubbed by authorities as “Operation Varsity Blues.” Other parents were accused of paying hefty bribes to have people cheat on their kids’ entrance exams.

Earlier this year, USC agreed to a record $1.1 billion settlement with hundreds of women who accused the college’s longtime campus gynecologist of sexual abuse.