NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In September 2017, the Rutgers chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity allegedly spiked alcoholic beverages with Xanax during a mixer with the Sigma Delta Tau sorority.
Sorority members recalled that the "jungle juice," a mix of grain alcohol and other beverages, tasted “chalky” and reported feeling unwell soon after drinking at the fraternity's house.
Some of the women reported vomiting despite drinking small amounts of the juice at the Hardenbergh Street home, while others say they blacked out.
According to an interview conducted by TAPinto New Brunswick, unnamed members of Sigma Chi reported that the allegations were made by “the ex-girlfriend of a current member as a revenge plot.”
Other responses from the fraternity included a since-deleted post on their Facebook page, stating, “We’re not suspended…you’re suspended.”
The comment appears to be a reference to an article shared by Barstool Sports, in which a suspended fraternity at Florida State University made the same statement.
Sigma Chi was already under investigation by Rutgers for unrelated policy infractions, including “Theft/Damage to Property,” at the time complaints about the mixer were filed.
Following these events, Sigma Chi was issued a "Cease and Desist Order" later that month, preventing the fraternity from holding events as an organization.
This meant that Sigma Chi’s annual Derby Days event, a fundraising effort for the Children’s Miracle Network, was cancelled due to the fraternity’s probation.
Derby Days is held by many Sigma Chi chapters across the country, and the Rutgers chapter says it has raised over $500,000 towards pediatric cancer research in the past two years.
Eight sororities involved with the Panhellenic Council, a governing body that represents many campus sororities, agreed to continue raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network without Sigma Chi.
The sororities in the council further denounced Sigma Chi by refusing to recognize events held by the fraternity going forward.
The council stated that, “We will absolutely not tolerate any form of harassment, and if any occurs, we will go forward with taking further action to The Office of Student Conduct.”
Then in November, the Rutgers chapter was officially suspended in a statement released by the international Sigma Chi fraternity, and formally closed by the Rutgers Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs.
According to the statement released on the official Sigma Chi website, “Undergraduate members of the chapter have been moved to suspended active status and will be unable to participate in anything that could be conceived of as a Sigma Chi activity until 2023.”
However, Rutgers University clarified their official statement to emphasize that Sigma Chi’s closure on campus was “unrelated to allegations that Sigma Chi members spiked punch with Xanax during a party in September 2017.”
Rather, according to TapInto New Brunswick's Daniel Munoz, the fraternity members claimed "that the only incident for which Sigma Chi was under investigation was a tailgating party in early September, during which a beer can was thrown into the air and hit a woman in the head."
Sigma Chi is one of three fraternities at Rutgers that had their chapter closed during the fall 2017 semester, joining by the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity.