Sexual assault reported at Sigma Chi

Fraternity president ‘not aware of any brothers being suspects’

The MIT community received a “timely warning” email sent by MIT Police Oct. 20 describing the events of a reported sexual assault incident at the Sigma Chi fraternity house five days earlier. The victim reported that she had been assaulted in the basement bathroom of the house.

The incident at Sigma Chi came as a shock to many, including the members of Sigma Chi. Jack Dulsky ’18, president of Sigma Chi, wrote in an email to The Tech that "the incident was not reported to any of our members at the time,” and that he “learned about it along with everyone else from the MIT bulletin that went out.”

Dulsky wrote, “There were non-Sigma Chi and non-MIT males present in the house that evening. We are not aware of any Sigma Chis being suspects. The police have not shared any other information with us, and that is all we know at this point."

The timely warning email stated that the ongoing case is “being actively investigated by MIT Police [and] at least one other agency.” When asked for comments, MIT Police Sergeant Andrew Turco responded in an email that “based on the sensitive nature of sexual assault cases I am very limited in the information I can provide.”

Director of Media Relations and Deputy Director of MIT News Office Kimberly Allen wrote in an email to The Tech that “as a general practice, MIT does not comment on ongoing investigations.”  

“Timely warning" emails like the one sent Oct. 20 are required from university campus police by The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, commonly known as the Clery Act, signed in 1990 to ensure that members of university communities are informed of threats to campus safety.

Additional information is unlikely to be released to the public in the near future.

According to the 2017 MIT Annual Security and Fire Safety Report sent out to the MIT community Sept. 29 (also required from campus police by The Clery Act), there were 13 rape cases (including incidents in residences, on campus, off campus, and public properties contiguous to MIT) in 2016, down from 23 cases in 2015. On the other hand, domestic violence had increased from 10 incidents in 2014 and five incidents in 2015 to 13 incidents in 2016.

Identifying true trends from police reports may be difficult due to nuances when it comes to definition (sexual assault versus rape) and various reporting options (among them confidential and private resources).  

Many resources for survivors of sexual assault and movements to combat sexual assault are present on campus. In addition to MIT Violence Prevention and Response (VPR), the Title IX Office, and MIT Police, there are various student groups including Peers Leading Education about Sexuality and Speaking Up for Relationship Empowerment (Pleasure) and the Title IX Student Advisory Committee that focus on community outreach and education.