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UMBC fraternity investigated, shut down after 'Ladies Appreciation Night'

Members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County allegedly invited women to a darkened basement on campus, blindfolded them at the door, seated them in chairs, then kissed and touched them in a sexual manner.

A resident assistant walked into the room and smelled baby oil. A fraternity member told her they were giving free massages.

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According to university records obtained by The Baltimore Sun, they called it "Ladies Appreciation Night."

The incident, reported anonymously by a female student in April 2013, was one of dozens of instances of alleged improper conduct by student organizations investigated by the state's 12 public universities during the past three school years.

University officials said the student declined to participate in an investigation and they could not corroborate the allegations. But they cited the chapter for disobeying the resident assistant's instruction to halt the event because it was making students uncomfortable. A university official also notified Kappa Alpha Psi's national office that there was enough evidence to charge individuals with violating the student code, and encouraged the organization to look into the matter.

The fraternity suspended the chapter, UMBC attorney Christopher Tkacik said. A new chapter has not been formed.

The fraternity's national office did not respond to a request for comment, and the former officers of the chapter could not be reached.

The student relayed her allegations to a university employee designated to take anonymous reports.

According to records, she said she was blindfolded when a man kissed her neck. She said she "felt very tense" and was "trying to find a way to tell him to stop."

The man eventually stopped kissing her, she said, and she left. She said other women who attended the event told her they had also been touched in a sexual manner.

Tkacik said the university employee told university officials, but could not persuade the student to cooperate with the investigation.

"The victim did not want to come forth, did not want to be involved in any of the investigation," Tkacik said. "We couldn't corroborate it. To some degree our investigating office felt like their hands were tied, they couldn't get the information they needed."

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