Multiple reports of possible criminal druggings, including at off-campus bars and a party, helped trigger two Ohio State public safety alerts to students in recent weeks, records show.
Through a public records request, The Lantern reviewed three separate reports detailing suspected druggings at area bars and a party hosted by the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, that has been suspended by the university since May 2018.
University spokesman Ben Johnson stated in an email that the university has received 17 reports, but some of these reports overlap, so there are not a total of 17 incidents under investigation. Johnson said this means, in at least some incidents, one person’s alleged drugging was reported multiple times.
In response to the reports, the Ohio State Department of Public Safety released a Neighborhood Safety Notice Feb. 14 which acknowledged “possible occurrences of criminal drugging at off-campus parties and bars.” It warned students to drink and party responsibly and to “report suspicious activity to the police.”
A safety reminder to “Party Smart” was sent to students Friday by Javaune Adams-Gaston, senior vice president of the Office of Student Life, and Monica Moll, director of the Department of Public Safety, warning about drugged drinks and providing additional information on precautions at parties.
“You should also always protect and monitor any type of beverage you have at a party or event, not just alcoholic ones,” Adams-Gaston and Moll stated in the email.
Of the three reports provided to The Lantern, names of victims and the floor number of the residence hall were redacted from the reports. The university cited federal student privacy laws as the reason.
Twelve of the 17 reports were made through Ohio State’s Title IX office and are exempt from The Lantern’s original public records request. Two of the five remaining reports are still being processed and will be released afterward, Johnson said.
According to one report, University Police officer Trey Duplessie was dispatched to Smith-Steeb Hall on Feb. 10 after a resident adviser reported the possible sexual assault of a female student.
The student said she suspected she had been drugged at a party hosted by AEPi on Feb. 9. Duplessie said the student did not believe she was sexually assaulted. She was later transported to the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to be evaluated.
AEPi was suspended in May 2018 for hazing, endangering behavior and violating sections of the Code of Student Conduct. The university placed AEPi under a disciplinary suspension until Aug. 6, 2023. The reported incident took place at an off-campus house.
A second female student reported she had been drugged at Bullwinkle’s, a night club on North High Street. The student attended “Date Night” at the club on Feb. 15. She told OSUPD she suspected a male bartender had drugged her second beer, according to the police report.
The student said in the report she did not have any memory after the second beer and later learned from an Uber receipt, social media and text messages that she had visited other bars with individuals unknown to her.
The report said the female student was taken to Riverside Methodist Hospital after she began showing signs of memory loss, “slurred speech and physical weakness” and strokelike symptoms.
It is unclear whether the student was examined for signs of sexual assault, but she told police she had reason to believe she was not sexually assaulted.
Ted Lawson, a manager at Bullwinkle’s, said the bar was aware of the incident, and the police officers mentioned in the report who had been stationed outside Bullwinkle’s on the “Date Night” were not approached by anyone who indicated they had been drugged. The Columbus Division of Police had previously notified the club of off-campus druggings taking place at fraternities, Lawson said.
Lawson added that each employee at Bullwinkle’s has been trained to handle possible drugging incidents, and the description of the bartender provided to police by the student was vague. A total of six bartenders were working that night.
A third report was made by a man not affiliated with the university. He contacted OSUPD after becoming aware of the Feb. 14 safety notice. In the report, the man said he had been “dosed” three or four times over the past year while drinking at two campus-area bars
Correction 3/5 at 2:12 p.m.: Originally, the article said residence all names were redacted from the reports. In fact, it was only the names of victims and the floor number of the residence hall.