Protesters demand Y Bar closure amid drink drugging allegations

Kalamazoo County

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Protesters in Kalamazoo are calling for a bar near Western Michigan University’s campus to be shut down after more than a dozen women came forward alleging their drinks were drugged.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is investigating the allegations against the Y Bar and Bistro.

In several videos posted on TikTok, Grace Van Overberghe says she was at the Y Bar with a group of more than 14 of her friends the night of April 12.

“We all only received drinks from one person the entire night,” Van Overberghe said in one video.

Van Overberghe says the women later found a variety of drugs including tranquilizers, Xanax and opioids in their systems. A police report obtained by News 8 Tuesday indicates that was an over-the-counter test, rather than a lab test.

Bailey Crist and her friends helped organize the protest, where dozens stood on the sidewalk in front of the bar.

“This type of thing probably happens everywhere all the time. I mean, I’ve been drugged in Kalamazoo and nothing ever came of it,” Crist said.

Alyssa McDonald says the protest was about empowering more women to speak up.

“I feel like some people weren’t comfortable coming out until now when this situation blew up the way it did, and so I feel like with this protest, we’re kind of giving a voice to the people who didn’t want to come out and have their stories shared publicly,” McDonald said.

Kala Culligan says she is also trying to give a voice to women who are not being heard.

“People need to know that they are not alone. People are scared to report, and they’re victim blamed,” Culligan said. “When you go to a group of women, the question even isn’t at this point if you’ve been assaulted — it’s when have you been assaulted and that’s not OK, and we’re here to stand up for that.”

News 8 has made multiple attempts to reach out to the bar for comment on the allegations and has not received a response.

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