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USC acknowledged Friday a “troubling delay” in warning the campus community about allegations of drugging and sexual assault by a fraternity last month as a rare faculty protest added to mounting criticism about the university’s handling of the crisis.

In a message to the campus community Friday night, USC President Carol Folt said that a university confidential reporting program received five to seven disclosures of possible drugging and possible sexual assault at a fraternity in late September. The information, however, was not shared with the campus community until Oct. 20, when the Department of Public Safety posted an alert that the university had received a report of sexual assault and reports of drugs being placed into drinks at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, “leading to possible drug-facilitated sexual assaults.”

Six students reported that the alleged drugging and assault took place at Sigma Nu on Sept. 24 and one student reported she was drugged Sept. 27 at the an unknown location, according to the department’s daily crime log posted Oct. 21. In addition, a student reported Oct. 16 that she was sexually assaulted at Sigma Nu. The university subsequently announced it had suspended the fraternity.

Folt said the university decided to take the “exceptional step” of broadly sharing the information reported to the confidential program, called the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Services, weeks after receiving it.

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