Last week, students at the Claremont Colleges received
notification that there may be “date rape” drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB for sale on campus. Daren Mooko, Associate Dean of Students at Pomona College said that the allegations came from a Pomona student who remained anonymous.
“That student was
approached by another student, asking if they were interested in purchasing the
‘date rape drug,’” Mooko wrote in an e-mail to TSL. “We have not received any
reports from students indicating they may have been slipped a ‘date rape
Director of Health
Education Outreach (HEO) Elizabeth Wilmott said that Rohypnol (“roofies”) and GHB are
difficult to detect, although Rohypnol tablets often contain blue or green dyes that can be detected after the tablet dissolves in the drink. It
also may be difficult to distinguish between the aftereffects of Rohypnol or
GHB and what Wilmott calls “the most prevalent and widely used date rape drug:”
“Because being ‘roofied’ or slipped GHB generally mimics the
effects of alcohol, it is hard to tell if a date rape drug has been used,” Wilmott wrote in an e-mail to TSL.
Wilmott urged students to watch their drinks at parties and to watch their friends.
“If someone appears much more drunk than they
should be considering the amount of alcohol consumed, be concerned and get
help,” Wilmott said. Any students who worry that they may have been roofied or
assaulted should call Campus Safety, and, if possible, find any containers they
drank out of the night before, she added.
Pomona’s Drug and Alcohol Counselor Jasa Cocke said that in the nine years she has held her current position, this semester marked the first time she heard of anyone selling
these kinds of drugs on campus.
Like Mooko, Cocke said that she has not heard of any recent
use of these drugs on a student. Although it is possible that
such an event has gone unreported, “no one has yet
reached out,” she said. However, the use of such drugs on a student is not
unheard of. Cocke said that in her time here, a student has reported being the victim of date
rape drugs while in an environment that seemed safe.
For students, the appearance of date rape
drugs on campus raises crucial questions about the safety of the party scene at
Tony Gomez PO ’15 and Natalie Daifotis PO ’15 are members of Advocates for
Survivors of Sexual Assault, a support and outreach group that offers weekly
talks on issues of safety and consent. Both Gomez and Daifotis said that the
appearance of date rape drugs on the 5Cs was upsetting but not surprising. While
Gomez said he has never personally heard of the use of date rape drugs on another
student, he did not dismiss the possibility.
“Unfortunately, I feel like
it could happen,” Gomez said. “We can’t be joking about it. It just perpetuates
the use of these drugs.”
“I don’t think that we do have a
healthy and open conversation about consent,” Daifotis added. “It’s rough to try
to change the way that people look at the world, especially given that so much
of how we think is due to socialization that’s outside the control of the
think that, unfortunately, the conversation is secluded to specific groups,”
Gomez said. “It does need to be brought out.”
The Advocates for Survivors of
Sexual Assault have made efforts to connect with the community, including a
joint effort with Sigma Tau fraternity last year that brought activist Tony Porter to speak to
Claremont students on the role that men can play in reducing the culture of sexual
Daifotis said she sees the benefits of organized
outreach, but she emphasized the importance of bringing issues of consent and
sexual assault into everyday conversation.
“You see a campaign a week,” she said. “That’s not to say that they’re not important, but how can we tell
what’s really going to get through to students?”
“I think people make connections
with people,” she added. “It’s a sustained consistent effort from a lot of
Daifotis said that an incident like the sale of date rape drugs at the 5Cs is disappointing, but it has the potential to extend the needed discourse.
“If it starts a conversation, I’m glad that conversation’s happening,” she said. “We can make our response a positive force.”