Fraternity president charged with sexual assault

Interfraternity Council plans more prevention education

The Psi Upsilon chapter president at Cornell University was charged over the weekend with sexual assault and the fraternity was placed on suspension.

Cornell University Police Department charged Wolfgang Ballinger with first-degree attempted rape, sexual misconduct, and first-degree criminal sex act with a helpless victim for an alleged sexual assault that took place at about 2 a.m. on Sunday at the Psi Upsilon house.

Officers identified Ballinger as the attacker with the help of the victim, and Ballinger turned himself in to police, at their request to his attorney.

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Last Monday, police alerted students of the alleged attack, and administrators put Psi Upsilon on interim suspension. The national headquarters suspended the chapter as well.

"Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon," said Thomas Fox, the fraternity's executive director, in a written statement. "Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell's investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable."

Last Tuesday, the local Interfraternity Council (IFC) passed a measure to require all fraternities to undergo training in sexual assault prevention, bystander intervention, and consent education before the end of the school year.

"Through education and training, the IFC and chapter leaders hope to mitigate sexual violence within the fraternity system and throughout our campus community at large," IFC President Blake Brown said in a statement.

Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett released a statement recognizing the efforts of the IFC but vowing more would be done.

"Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others," she says (Svrluga, "Grade Point," Washington Post, 2/6).

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