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UPDATE: UND to review fraternity incident after cops close case on alleged attack

In compliance with federal guidelines, UND plans to conduct a review and potentially investigate an incident at a fraternity in late August.

Haakon Gisvold, an 18-year-old who is not a student at UND, claimed he was assaulted and called homophobic slurs at a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity party in August. Last week the Grand Forks County State's Attorney's Office said a police investigation found the allegations were false.

The university released an email statement Wednesday saying, pending the release of all law enforcement records, UND would conduct its own review, which UND spokesman Peter Johnson said is required by Title IX because Gisvold's sexual orientation was involved.

"We care deeply about the safety and well-being of all of our students and take every report brought to our attention seriously," the statement said. "It is our goal that the UND campus remain a safe, respectful environment for all students."

UND Lambda Chi Alpha President Joe Price said he was aware the investigation would happen and is required to be in compliance with Title IX.

"Basically we wait, and if they decide they want to interview us they can or they can go off the police report and stuff, but we don't really know," he said.

Gisvold declined to comment.

Johnson said he isn't aware yet what the timeline will be.

"We're going to review it to see if, based on what's in there, we'll need to proceed with any sort of

Title IX investigation," he said.

The case will also be reviewed under the UND Code of Student Life and, if infractions were committed, students may have to go through the school's disciplinary process.

The case

Gisvold, who is gay, claimed he was beaten and stripped by multiple men at the fraternity while called homophobic names.

Through interviews with people at the party, a police investigation found multiple witnesses including sober members of the fraternity and a friend of Gisvold's said he was not the victim.

The report states Gisvold instigated a fight with another person and then was kicked out of the fraternity. Witnesses claimed in the report Gisvold then took off his own clothes and threw them out of anger or frustration.

County prosecutors aren't pressing charges against Gisvold for allegedly lying to law enforcement.

University President Robert Kelley released a statement Sept. 2 saying he was "disturbed" by the alleged hate crime and violent behavior wouldn't be tolerated at the school. Since then, Kelley has been criticized in social media and the Herald editorial pages for jumping to conclusions.

Johnson said Kelley's statement was directly in reference to the violent nature of the incident, not the alleged details, and any subsequent statement would depend on the results of UND's review.

"I don't think there is going to be any particular followup to that," Johnson said. "That statement still stands. It was about the type of activity that was reported to have happened, not the specific event."

Price said a large fraternity alumni event last weekend improved fraternity morale after public backlash to media reports of the incident.

"I knew this was another step in the process, so it doesn't really affect me," he said.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.

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