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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Students allege date-rape drugs at 100 Days party, submit report to admin

At+least+five+Grinnell+College+students+allege+their+alcoholic+drinks+may+have+been+spiked+with+date-rape+drugs+at+100+Days%2C+which+took+place+at+1008+High+St.+on+March+2.
Marc Duebener
At least five Grinnell College students allege their alcoholic drinks may have been spiked with date-rape drugs at 100 Days, which took place at 1008 High St. on March 2.

At least five Grinnell College students suspect their alcoholic drinks may have been spiked with date-rape drugs at 100 Days, an annual party for fourth years in which attendees wear wristbands signaling they are willing to kiss, or be kissed, by other attendees. 

The statements of the five students were compiled into a report submitted to members of the Division of Student Affairs (DSA) and the Title IX Office. The S&B could not determine if any student reported a sexual assault while feeling the effects of date-rape drugs. College administrators are unable to comment on ongoing Title IX investigations.

Similar cases occurred in 2005, 2006 and 2007 when five students reported predatory drug use, including one student at 2006’s 100 Days, according to S&B archives. The College’s investigations did not identify the perpetrators. 

The new allegations come a decade after 100 Days was forced off campus due to tightening of the College’s alcohol policies, and five years after Student Government Association (SGA) stopped funding off-campus parties when DSA barred All Campus Event Student Safety (ACESS) staff from working off campus.

In an interview with The S&B, one fourth-year student said she blacked out after consuming two Twisted Tea beverages, which contain 5% alcohol, as well as an additional sip of beer. This is lower than the Center for Disease Control’s binge drinking threshold of four drinks per night for women.

After consuming the drinks, the student said she vomited and became unable to speak or walk as she lost consciousness. The student, who is 22 and said she frequently drinks casually, said she suspects she may have been drugged. 

The S&B is not identifying this student to protect her privacy as the possible victim of date-rape drugs.

The student said on the evening of March 2, the date of 100 Days, she drank one Twisted Tea while getting ready for the party. She walked to the party with a second Twisted Tea, which she said she opened 10 minutes after arriving inside 1010 High St. The party was co-hosted by renters of 1010 and 1008 High St.

I was chatting with someone in one of my classes, and then I started to feel really confused and panicked.

After speaking with friends, the student said she placed her open drink on a counter to participate in a drinking game that required use of her hands, where she said she drank a small sip of beer. After several minutes, she said she left and began drinking the same Twisted Tea again.  

“I was chatting with someone in one of my classes, and then I started to feel really confused and panicked,” she said.

The student said that within 10 minutes, she lost the ability to form coherent sentences. 

“And then nothing,” she said. “I don’t remember anything after that.”

The student’s account was corroborated by a close friend, who described the student as incomprehensible and with “noodly legs” that the student couldn’t control properly. 

The S&B is not identifying the friend to protect the anonymity of the student.

“She didn’t seem to know where she was,” the friend said. “She was having chest pain and a hard time breathing.” 

The friend said that because of the student’s inability to walk, it took 23 minutes for several people to guide the student 900 feet from 1008 High St. to the Main Hall steps, according to time stamps on the friend’s text messages. The friend said that, to their knowledge, the student only consumed the two Twisted Teas and the sip of beer.

The friend also said they had discarded their own drink because “it didn’t taste right” after leaving it unattended near the student’s drink.

The student said she recalls flashes of events once she returned to her dormitory. Others with the student later told her Emergency Medical Services (EMS) had arrived to transport her to the hospital, but that she refused EMS, the student said.

When she awoke the next morning, she said she felt confused and in pain.

“I’ve been hungover before, but this was not a hangover,” she said. “This was absolutely not a hangover.”

The student said she experienced muscle soreness, chest pain and a migraine for three to four days after the party.

“I could not walk up the stairs,” she said. “I felt ill, really ill. It was almost like I had been hit by a train.”

According to United States Office on Women’s Health, common symptoms of date-rape drugs include dizziness, slurred speech, vomit, the inability to control muscles, sleepiness, confusion and trouble breathing.

The student said that on multiple prior occasions she’s consumed more than two standard drinks without feeling sick or losing memory. 

“It doesn’t take two drinks to take me out,” she said. On other nights she has lost her memory, she said she had consumed significantly more alcohol and did not feel as sick the following morning.

The student said nothing happened earlier that day that would’ve affected her body’s response to alcohol at 100 Days, and that she made a deliberate attempt to eat sufficiently and drink enough water before the party. The student also said she does not take medication that would impact the ingestion of alcohol.

The student said she now wishes she had gone with EMS to the hospital because she would have been able to undergo a drug test. The detection time for date-rape drugs varies widely, but some drugs like Rohypnol become undetectable within six hours. 

This student’s story, along with the accounts of four others, was included in a report detailing date-rape allegations at 100 Days written by Jasper Gray `24, Community Advisor (CA) in Read Hall.

The student said she was not sexually assaulted while blacked out, which she said she determined from the testimony of several friends alongside her that night. 

This student’s story, along with the accounts of four others, were included in a report detailing date-rape allegations at 100 Days written by Jasper Gray `24, Community Advisor (CA) in Read Hall. 

Gray said they noticed an unconscious student at 100 Days and felt a responsibility to help because of crisis education they received during CA training. Gray said that they and another CA brought the student to the Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC).

That night, Gray said they were required to file a report to the Department of Residence Life about taking a student to the hospital.

On Sunday, Gray said they heard rumors that other students suspected date-rape drugs were present at 100 Days. Gray said they messaged Residence Life Coordinator Mary Perkins, who organized a meeting with Gray and Assistant Dean of Residence Life Dennis Perkins. 

At the meeting, Gray said they were asked to independently connect with students who suspected they were drugged and submit a report with information pertinent to date-rape allegations at 100 Days. 

Gray said that they spoke to five students who suspect they may have consumed date-rape drugs on March 2. All five students expressed drastic memory loss, sudden drunkenness and unusually intense hangover symptoms the following day, Gray said. 

Gray submitted the report on March 7 to Dennis Perkins, Mary Perkins, Residence Life Coordinator Em Heath, Dean of Students Ben Newhouse and Title IX Coordinator Bailey Asberry. 

“Going forward, it’s going to be hard,” said the student who spoke with The S&B. The weekend after 100 Days, she said she went to a Gardener event, but felt nervous and left early. 

In an email to The S&B, Newhouse wrote that he cannot comment on specific incidents or Gray’s report but encouraged students with concerns to contact the Dean of Students or the Title IX office for support. 

The Dean of Students and/or the Title IX office follows up all incidents reported to the College, including with any student who has needed medical support due to alcohol or other substance use. The goal of this follow up is to help students who have needed medical intervention avoid a future experience of this nature, but it also provides the opportunity for students to speak with us if they believe they experienced or observed any prohibited or dangerous conduct.”

Nick El Hajj, co-editor-in-chief of The S&B, is a renter at 1010 High St. He was not involved in the reporting or editing of this story.

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About the Contributors
Nina Baker, Staff Writer
Nina Baker is a fourth-year Russian major with a Russian, Central European and Eurasian Studies concentration from Lakeville, Minnesota. When she's not reporting for The Scarlet & Black, she loves taking long walks, reading, and learning foreign languages.
Marc Duebener, Staff Photographer
Marc Duebener is a first-year chemistry and economics major with a concentration in science, medicine and society. He says he is from Chicago, Illinois but really lives in the suburbs. On campus you can find Marc shooting sporting events and documentaries, studying in Noyce, or hitting the gym.
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