Private security pepper sprayed students at KU fraternity house protest, police say

  • In US
  • 2021-09-14 23:46:14Z
  • By Kansas City Star

Private security pepper sprayed students who had gathered Monday night to protest outside Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house after one of the fraternity's members was accused of sexually assaulting another student there over the weekend, according to the Lawrence Police Department.

Police said they arrived to the scene of the protest and encountered several hundred students outside of the fraternity house.

Video of the protest on social media showed the waving signs and chanting "We believe her."

Patrick Compton, a spokesman for the Lawrence Police Department in an email, that the department had been made aware of posts on social media saying individuals were pepper sprayed during the protest. The Lawrence Police, however, he said, did not use pepper spray on any of the students. That was done by private the security that was present.

No arrests were made, and no injuries were reported.

The Lawrence Police, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and KU Public Safety maintained a presence throughout the protest, Compton said.

Students on campus were planning for a second night of protests on Tuesday.

Still few details about the assault were clear Tuesday, but the assault was reported by fraternity officials over the weekend. Students believe the victim may have been drugged and raped during a house party there.

University officials said that fraternity leaders have been fully cooperating with the school's investigation.

"The university takes seriously all reports of sexual assault and is unwaveringly committed to the health and safety of our students," KU Chancellor Douglas Girod said in a statement. "In accordance with federal law, KU has robust processes to investigate reported instances of sexual assault and to hold accountable those individuals and organizations that are in violation of KU policies."

Compton said that Lawrence Police did receive a report of a possible sex crime occurring in Lawrence over the weekend and the incident was reported to be near campus. The department, however, said it does not talk publicly about specific sexual assault investigations.

A petition to ban the fraternity has been circulating throughout the day Tuesday and has recorded at least 13,000 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The creator of the petition on Change.org is listed as "anonymous."

The Star's Anna Spoerre and Bill Lukitsch contributed to this report.


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