Content warning: this article discusses instances of violence and sexual assault.

On Saturday, Oct. 22, the Brandeis chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi held a Monster Energy Drink-themed party. The frat brothers and guests dressed in black and green clothes to match the colors of the drink can. At the bar, they mixed vodka with Monster Energy. The party had an open-door policy, so almost anyone who paid $5 at the door was able to enter regardless of whether or not they were a Brandeis student. There was no list of names specifying which guests were allowed in, and no one was put on a list after they paid.

The following morning, an anonymous user posted a question to Sidechat, an app where students can post anonymously to only their peers: “How is no one talking about people getting roofied at AEPi?” The post received mixed reactions. One user commented, “That shit is just not true.” Another commented, “Some douche was touching up girls but no one was roofied.” Both comments were heavily “downvoted,” meaning “disliked” by other users. Other users commented that their friends were drugged at the party; one user commented, “that night was scary I had multiple friends going to the ER bc [sic] of it.”

One week later, on Saturday, Oct. 29, Alpha Delta Phi hosted a Halloween party. Like the weekend prior, party guests simply paid an entrance fee. There was no prior list of who was allowed in, and there was no list kept of guests who had paid. Once again, posts and comments on Sidechat began to surface. For the second weekend in a row, Brandeis students were allegedly exposed to drugging at a Greek life event. The Justice spoke to multiple members of the Brandeis community who stated that either themselves or close friends were drugged on the nights of Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, but the exact number of people who were drugged is unknown.

Brandeis is not the first scene in the Boston area to experience a wave of drugging. In May of this year, following an increase in social media posts that people in the Boston area were being drugged, the Boston Police Department issued a statement warning Bostonians to be aware of tasteless, scentless, odorless drugs such as royhphonol, GHB, and ketamine being used in drink-spiking. They issued a similar report on Sept. 8, this time directed at students. Later that month, two students at Boston University reported being drugged at an off-campus event. 

As these reports in Boston began to increase, Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps began to increase training regarding situations that involved intoxication caused by these substances, according to Executive Director of BEMCo Lorrin Stone ’23. BEMCo is unable to diagnose the cause behind intoxication — which is typically done through urinalysis — whether it be alcohol or drugs, or otherwise test a patient for substances. 

There are five fraternities that have chapters at Brandeis, all of which have their houses off campus, some as far as a mile. This means that while BEMCo is able to treat students who come back to campus from an off-campus party, they are unable to treat them directly at the frat houses. Anyone who is suffering symptoms that require medical attention and who is unable to return to campus will receive assistance from Waltham paramedics, like other Waltham residents.

The increased training initiatives undertaken by BEMCo allow them to better treat a patient who is showing symptoms of intoxication caused by the various drugs used in drink spiking. “We’re working to just make sure we are more aware of how these [patients] can present. And while we can’t necessarily file reports, we can at least try to be aware of what might be a more dangerous situation for a patient and ensure that they get the proper treatment that is indicated,” Stone said.

In the weeks following the druggings, the Brandeis fraternities have begun implementing new safety measures. In a meeting held by the Greek Awareness Council, the fraternities and sororities discussed ways in which to limit risk at Greek life events. “A central tenet of our fraternity is that we are our Brothers’ Keepers. We have a responsibility to protect each other, our guests, and our community at all times. We must continue to work to uphold that value and ensure that those inside and outside of our organization are made to feel safe.” AEPi President Elye Robinovitz ’23 said in a Nov. 12 statement to the Justice.

One of the most significant decisions GAC made is that fraternities will no longer be hosting open-door parties for the foreseeable future; parties instead will be invite-only events. Each fraternity’s qualifications in order to be on the list for a party may slightly differ, but the general policy is that the person must be invited by either a frat brother or be a member of the group that the fraternity is mixing with that night. When the guest arrives at the party, they must present an ID; some frats may require a regular ID while others may require only Brandeis IDs. The idea behind these closed parties is that there will not only be a record of who attended the party, but it also prevents any strangers from potentially causing harm. 

The concept of a closed party is in no way a new one — while fraternities choose to occasionally host open parties, many will often host closed parties. These parties don’t receive the same level of publicity as the open ones but are occurring just as frequently, if not more so. This precaution only works, however, if the perpetrator is not a Brandeis student or associated with Brandeis Greek life in any way. Regardless, if the drugging continues, the frats will be able to identify every single person who attended the party and may be able to better identify a suspect.

In addition to the closed parties, GAC is looking to find funding for drink test kits. In past years the Brandeis Student Union has invested in Sip Chips; however, that company has since gone out of business. GAC has identified alternative products and is hoping to begin having them available at Greek life events. The project has been headed by President of both the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon and the Greek Awareness Council Monica Aponte ’23. Aponte, who is also a member of the Brandeis Student Union, is working with the Union to help secure funding for these drink test kits.

Another idea proposed by GAC is allowing sorority sisters who are mixing with a fraternity to assist in working the door or monitor the bar in order to ensure the alcohol is never left unattended, as opposed to all responsibility being placed on the frats. “Not to say that they’re [the fraternities] not safe. But it is a big responsibility to just hold one group of people accountable for the bar when there are multiple organizations involved,” Aponte said in a Nov. 13 interview with the Justice.

Frats at Brandeis as a whole are taking precautionary measures; however, since one of the two instances of druggings happened at an AEPi event, they have decided to implement additional measures including no longer allowing any backpacks of any kind, an increase in floor monitors, disposing of all unattended cups immediately, increasing the lighting in their basement where the parties are primarily held, improving the communication with the organizations they are hosting events with, and conducting ongoing assessments of the safety and security of their events, according to Robinovitz.

In addition to the improved safety measures, AEPi has conducted an internal investigation into the night of Oct. 22, the findings of which are unlikely to be released to the public. “We have gained as much information as we possibly can. People who wished to have spoken to us about their experience [have spoken] and we invite others to as well, if they are comfortable and interested,” Robinovitz said. “We have also been in consultation with our nationals and other trusted institutions to determine the proper next steps and ensure we implement new measures to increase security.” Additionally, Robinovitz emphasized that if at any point there is credible information that a member of AEPi is responsible for anything against AEPi values, their membership will be suspended. If found guilty, expulsion proceedings against them will take place.

Although the Brandeis Greek life organizations have been acting in response to the increase in drugging, the University itself has yet to take action. “We do know that this is a concern, there’s been nothing that has been confirmed for us in regard to reports. I know that there are some concerns, but there have been no formal complaints,” Dean of Students Monique Gnanaratnam said in a Nov. 10 interview with the Justice. 

Even if the University is aware of claims that students have been drugged they are unwilling to take action until a student reports the incident to the school. Brandeis does not officially recognize Greek organizations, but they are still able to investigate an event that took place at a Greek life event due to the fact that it is an event hosted and primarily attended by Brandeis students, even if off campus. 

Gnanaratnam expresses that students should use resources such as “Report it!” in order to file an official report with the school, or communicate with someone in the Prevention Advocacy and Resource Center in order to better receive assistance. “We want to address and support students who may be affected. So we want our students to be cautious, we don’t want anyone to experience harm. But again, to address and support students who may be affected, I encourage that our students actually come talk to us,” Gnanaratnam said.

Despite the fact that Brandeis encourages students to report instances of drugging to the University, some students are opting to turn to Greek life organizations before they turn to the school. “I know some of the people that were affected did have conversations about potential safety measures that can be in place. But I don’t think people, in general, feel comfortable reporting to Brandeis when things like this happen,” Aponte said. Aponte emphasized that this is her personal view and not representative of the views of either DPhiE or GAC.

Going forward, Greek life events will continue, but they will look different. GAC is committed to making changes to the operations of Greek life events at Brandeis; however, they are not responsible for all parties hosted by Brandeis students. The new safety measures may be in place at Brandeis fraternity parties, but these safety measures won’t necessarily be in place at other parties hosted by Brandeis students. During the weekend of Nov. 6, one week after students were drugged at Alpha Delta Phi, Sidechat users shared that there were open parties being thrown at the Foster Mods. While Brandeis fraternities have begun to do what they can to mitigate the risk of drink-spiking at their events, it doesn’t mean it can’t occur at other Brandeis events. There may not be an immediate solution to the problem of drugging as a whole; however, students can continue to take individual precautions in order to mitigate any personal risk; however, precautions alone will not resolve this issue as drugging and other forms of sexual violence are systemic issues.

Alpha Delta Phi, Zeta Beta Tau, and Phi Kappa Psi did not respond to the Justice’s request for comment. Alpha Delta Phi was directly implicated in the drugging reports.

Students impacted by or otherwise affected by the recent increase of druggings can contact the PARC office for confidential mental health resources.