F is for Failure

The UO failed to warn students of druggings at fraternities.

In the early hours of Jan. 19, a Eugene police officer found two female University of Oregon students near the corner of East 19th Avenue and Onyx Street. They were “out of it,” as a police official later reported, adding that “the students were under the influence of more than just alcohol.”

The officer on site called the women’s boyfriends, who took them to McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center in Springfield for treatment. The Eugene police soon notified the University of Oregon Police Department about the incident. The UOPD report quoted the Eugene officer saying the women were “possibly drugged while attending a party at a fraternity.” 

All evidence points to the possibility these students were “roofied” — unknowingly slipped drugs that leave the victim unconscious or incapacitated. 

“Roofie” commonly refers to Rohypnol, a central nervous system depressant now banned in the U.S. It’s odorless and tasteless, making it the perfect weapon for druggings, and it is often the precursor to sexual assault. A roofie can also include other controlled substances, such as Valium and other drugs that sedate the victim.

Giving someone a controlled substance without their knowledge is a felony in Oregon. The UO Annual Security Report labels druggings as “poisoning” and says it treats them as aggravated assault, whether or not a sexual assault follows the drugging.

Documents obtained under the Oregon public records law show university officials repeatedly failed to follow the school’s own protocols for following the Clery Act, the federal law that requires colleges and universities to quickly disclose crime reports and issue “timely warnings” to alert students and the entire campus community of the risks.

University officials issued no timely warnings to students — even after UO received notification that at least four more students were potentially drugged at fraternities within the following three weeks. 

The UOPD opened a case file based on the drugging report from Jan. 19 and a sergeant sent out a notification to 25 UO officials, including UOPD Chief Jason Wade and UO Dean of Students Marcus Langford. 

The wave of druggings at Greek parties and how the university is handling it has been an early test of transparency for UO’s new president, John Karl Scholz.

More UO documents obtained by EW show that this police report could have been linked to parties at two nearby fraternities, Delta Sigma Phi or Theta Chi. Later documents show that both fraternities had reports of druggings on Jan 19. Other documents show that there had already been two incidents of druggings associated with Delta Sigma Phi before this report was issued, on Jan 10 and Jan 15. 

The reports should have immediately engaged UO officials in complying with the Clery Act. 

UO officials finally acknowledged the druggings on March 3, only after student journalists broke the story and EW asked for more information on the cases. By then, nine students had reported that they had been unknowingly drugged at fraternity events. 

Today, UO officials defend their failure to issue warnings to students, claiming the officials lacked adequate information about the incidents.

UO spokesperson Angela Seydel said in a statement to Eugene Weekly that the UO “could not determine if there was a pattern of conduct or if the threat was continuing and ongoing. Absent clear and actionable information, sending out an imprecise warning is not desirable.”

Documents released to EW show that UO officials did have evidence of a pattern as early as Jan. 26. The records also show UO officials have made several false and inaccurate claims about their reasons for keeping the drugging reports quiet.

The UO’s failure to issue a warning troubles Daniel Carter, president of Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses and a nationally recognized expert on the Clery Act who has spent 33 years advising universities on how to comply with federal law. 

Carter says the Clery Act requires university officials to act quickly and does not require a lengthy investigation before a warning is sent to the campus community.

“A single drugging constitutes a reportable Clery offense, and with the suspect at large it warrants a timely warning,” Carter says. “An aggravated assault does not require a pattern.”

Doug Fierberg, founder of Fierberg National Law Group, which is nationally known for its representation of school violence victims and survivors, says withholding crime information or failing to issue a warning puts more UO students at risk for harm.

“The failure to report them, either in the context of Clery and/or the context of the tentative suspensions, to me are decisions that are in favor of keeping their students in the dark and not aware of circumstances that could threaten their life and safety,” Fierberg tells EW

UO is out of step with many universities, which have not hesitated to issue timely warnings for drugging cases involving fraternities.

Since 2020, Tulane University, Whitman College, Eastern Washington University, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and many more have all issued timely warnings about druggings at fraternities. 

“Why has the university not been more transparent?” Carter asks of the UO. “The Clery Act, spirit and letter, are all about that transparency, where the priority is warning students and other campus community members. Ultimately, in the final analysis, that’s what the law is about.”

Adds Carter, “The process didn’t work as it was supposed to.”


In 1990, Congress passed the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, named for a Lehigh University freshman who had been raped and murdered in her dorm room. The law requires colleges and universities to track and report campus crime statistics and establish clear policies on campus safety.

The UO describes its policy about timely warnings in its annual “Campus Security and Fire Safety Report,” required by the Clery Act.

As the UO report states, “Timely warnings include information intended to inform the community, enable community members to protect themselves, provide prevention and safety tips, and aid in the prevention of similar crimes.”

The UO’s annual security report describes the protocols officials must follow when they receive reports of criminal activity.

But from the start, the UO didn’t issue timely warnings to students and the campus community, even though top campus officials expressed concerns about the safety of students.

On Jan. 25, UO Dean of Students Langford emailed three officials at the Delta Sigma Phi national office to inform them that the university had learned about three cases of students who had been drugged at the fraternity’s UO chapter on Jan. 10, 19 and 25.

“These allegations involving Theta Rho (the UO chapter of Delta Sigma) leave me with an increased level of concern,” Langford wrote. “And in an effort to ensure the health and safety of the UO community, we will be coming forward with a temporary organizational suspension of the Theta Rho chapter.”

The next day, Dianne Tanjuaquio, the UO director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, sent a letter to Delta Sigma Phi informing the fraternity that the university was placing it under interim suspension.

“I am taking this interim action to secure the health and safety of the University community following receipt of reports that contain allegations of at least three incidents where students were drugged or otherwise unknowingly ingested substances that cause some level of incapacitation,” she stated in the email.

The documents show that two of the highest-ranking UO officials involved in student conduct saw a safety campus threat. Over the next two weeks, UO officials received word of two more drugging incidents — a Theta Chi incident on Feb. 2 and Phi Delta Theta incident on Feb. 10.

At a minimum, UO officials are obligated to report crimes that fall under the Clery Act, including criminal homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary. According to the UO’s Clery guidelines, the incidents must be reported to the UOPD and entered into the UO’s Daily Crime Log.

None of the fraternity drugging incidents reported since January show up in the UO crime log, which is available to the public. 

The crime log does show a Jan. 15 report of “Causing Another to Ingest Controlled Substance.” That date coincides with one of the reported cases of a drugging at the Delta Theta Phi house. But the crime log lists the location as Unthank Hall, a dormitory on campus, and not the fraternity.

It’s not clear if UO officials told the UO police about all of the drugging cases. 

On March 5, EW reported that the UOPD was unaware of any investigations into druggings at fraternities. “I’m not aware of any reports,” UOPD Capt. Clint Dieball told EW.

Under the UO’s Clery Act guidelines, only the UOPD has the authority to decide whether to issue a timely warning. However, in a conversation with EW, Seydel said that multiple parties are involved. But she said she was unsure if UOPD was aware of all reports. 

As a result, UO officials effectively prevented the issuing of timely warnings to students by failing to fully inform the campus police.

UO officials have offered three reasons as to why they did not report the drugging cases to the UOPD. Each claim included false and misleading information.

The UO falsely claimed the drugging cases took place outside its jurisdiction.

The Clery Act typically covers crimes that occur on campus or university-owned and operated property. But the Clery Act also covers certain ”non-campus” locations that, according to the UO’s Clery guidelines, include any “building or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the institution.”

 This provision covers fraternities officially recognized by UO. That includes all three fraternities involved in the drugging cases and their official residences near campus. But many fraternities have so-called “live-outs” where members rent a private residence. UO officials initially claimed that all the drugging incidents occurred at fraternity live-outs, which put the druggings outside their jurisdiction. 

“These reported events occurred at off-campus locations, placing them in the legal jurisdiction of the Eugene Police Department for any criminal complaints,” Seydel wrote in a March 6 email to EW. “No associated criminal complaints have been filed with the UO Police Department.”

In another email, this one dated March 15, Seydel said: “Any criminal investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Eugene Police Department as these reported events occurred in off-campus locations.” 

She continued, “If a suspected crime is reported on campus, but occurred off campus, that does not change the criminal investigation jurisdictional authority. UO Police Department has reviewed their records and not found any criminal reports made.”

 Another UO spokesperson, Eric Howald, made the same claim. “The incidents took place at live-out locations. That puts criminal investigations in the jurisdiction of EPD.”

These claims turned out to be false.

When asked, UO officials declined to provide the exact addresses of the incidents. So EW filed a public records request for reports about the incidents. The documentation revealed that five of the drugging cases took place at official fraternity houses, including Delta Sigma Phi at 1306 E. 18th and Theta Chi at 1125 E. 19th Avenue.

UO officials did not respond to EW‘s questions as to why they provided false information about the druggings locations.

The UO falsely claimed the druggings were not covered by the Clery Act.

On March 15, Seydel sent an email to EW asserting that the UO was under no legal obligation to report the drugging incidents under the Clery Act.

 “Every incident of concern reported is evaluated based on the Clery Act requirements to keep the campus informed about safety and security threats,” Seydel wrote. “For example, drugging is not itself a Clery crime, and it was determined that the reports did not meet the criteria for a general campus alert, either individually or as a group.”

The UO’s Clery Act guidelines show Seydel’s statements aren’t accurate.

The UO’s annual crime report says the Clery Act requires the UO to report all cases of aggravated assault. On page 56, the report says, “Aggravated assault includes poisoning (date rape drug or other poison).” 

When asked about the contradiction, Seydel said in a written statement that she misspoke. “I meant to say that intoxication was not itself a Clery crime, and apologize for the mistake,” Seydel said. 

UO falsely claimed that Clery didn’t cover the drugging cases because there were no allegations of sexual assault.

 In a March 19 phone call with EW, Seydel said that the reports of the druggings at the fraternities were not reportable under the Clery Act because they did not result in sexual assault.

Nothing in the UO’s Clery Act guidelines requires sexual assault allegations to be present before crimes are reported to the police.

“Under Clery Act reporting rules the use of a drug to harm someone is reportable as an aggravated assault,” Carter, the Clery Act expert, tells EW. “This is enough to make it Clery reportable in statistics, timely warnings and the crime log. No additional information is needed.”

“They are absolutely reportable offenses, and they’re absolutely reportable within the jurisdiction of the university,” Fierberg says. “Because it’s clear that the university exercised jurisdiction over these at least three of the fraternities.”

Seydel did not respond to questions about her inaccurate claim. 

UO falsely claims that it’s exempt from Clery Act reporting if the campus community might get the wrong impression.

After EW pointed out the false and misleading claims, UO officials added another round of reasons why they didn’t warn students about the druggings: The public might misunderstand what the timely warnings reports mean.

In an April 9 email, Seydel stated: “We will always send required timely warnings, but we are also mindful that research states that there can be unintended harmful effects of campus-wide messages and notifications. This includes but is not limited to the fact that messages may mislead people to believe that campuses are less safe than they actually are, may provoke panic and may reinforce racial stereotypes.”

She added, “Additionally, these notifications may be perceived as victim blaming, can expose the identity of victims who report crime, trigger retaliation, re-traumatize victims of past crime and cause chilling effects on crime reporting.”

Experts said the UO’s rationalizations for not issuing timely warnings misrepresent out-dated research and perpetuate old excuses for universities to conceal crime reports. 

Carter says none of those concerns Seydel listed — causing more trauma or inciting panic — will happen if UO officials handle the timely warnings properly.

The issues the UO brought up are “absolutely no excuse for not issuing a timely warning,” Carter says. “As someone who has long advocated for disclosing campus crime information, I am very frustrated to see an institution struggling to find ways not to disclose reported crimes.”

Feirberg calls Seydel’s rationale for the UO failing to issue timely warnings as “patronizing words used as an excuse for not telling the truth and advising women of the risks they face so that they can protect themselves.”

“That,” Fierberg adds, “is just a stinking load of horse shit.”


The UO says it has taken action by putting the three fraternities under interim suspension while student conduct investigations take place, and that “during an emergency interim suspension, the organization is prohibited from engaging in all organization activities. The organization will be denied access to all University activities and privileges for which the organization might otherwise be eligible.”   

However, the sanctions hold little weight. No sooner had the UO put these sanctions in place did UO officials start waving restrictions. 

The Daily Emerald broke the news on April 3 that UO Associate Dean of Students Dianne Tanjuaquio has been lifting sanctions to accommodate events sponsored by the fraternities.

Emails obtained by EW show Tanjuaquio decided to allow two fraternities to hold festivities for Dad’s Weekend, as well as new member recruitment. Additional emails showed that Tanjuaquio was considering letting Delta Sigma have its formal event. 

On April 5, the UO sent out a Spring Campus Security Advisory email. In the email, which covered the uptick in bike and scooter thefts and a reminder not to leave belongings unattended, the UO brought up the drugging reports. 

“Please remember, Ducks look out for each other. During winter term the university received six formal reports of students potentially being drugged or ingesting unknown substances through drinks at parties hosted at fraternities, including at off-campus locations. None of the allegations included sexual assault,” it said.

This email came out three days after EW sent a number of questions asking the UO to explain its lack of action, and 94 days after the UO received its first notification that a student had been drugged at a fraternity party.