‘We reject rape culture’: American Univ. students demand sanctions against rogue frat

By Arturo Garcia
Thursday, April 24, 2014 19:51 EDT
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American Univ. students protest rogue fraternity [YouTube]
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Students at American University in Washington D.C. marched to school president Neil Kerwin’s office calling for immediate action against the members of a banned fraternity still operating on campus, News2Share reported on Thursday.

The protest specifically called on the university to recognize involvement in the unofficial Epsilon Iota (EI) chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity as “gang activity,” and that members be expelled if they are found to have “discussed being present, or condoning sexual violence, assault, battery, slander and all other actions relevant to physical, sexual, emotional and all other forms of abuse.”

Neither the school nor Alpha Tau Omega has recognized EI since 2001, but the group still has a house on campus and has continued to recruit members and take part in activities with American sororities, which came to light in an unsavory fashion last week following the publication of 70 pages of intra-fraternal emails, many of which contained boasts regarding predatory behavior toward women and discussing ways to “formulate an excuse” when one EI member was linked to an assault.

The campus radio station, WAMU-FM, reported that in addition to the leaked emails, two EI members were among three students arrested earlier this month and charged with felony assault for allegedly attacking another student in a campus parking lot.

“To allow this kind of thing to occur? They’ve tolerated the existence of EI for far too long,” student Amanda Radge was quoted as saying. “We simply haven’t done enough in terms of sexual assault prevention and education.”

The protesters carried signs reading, “EI is not AU, we reject rape culture” and, “Your silence is complacency,” which also brought the issue to the attention of several prospective students and parents visiting the school.

“It’s a little disappointing that the administration [was] aware of it and didn’t do something about it,” Jennifer Pincus told News2Share during a campus tour with her son. “That it had to come to this, this many years later, before the students said, ‘Why aren’t you doing anything?’”

WUSA-TV reported that the demonstrators delivered a petition bearing more than 1,600 signatures to Kerwin’s Chief of Staff, David Taylor.

“The fact that we’ve got this at the vice presidential level, at the trustee level, at the Presidential level, is an indication we’re taking it seriously,” Taylor was quoted as saying to the crowd.

Kerwin has previously stated that, though the school is investigating the EI correspondence, it cannot legally reveal whether students are expelled in connection to activities attributed to the group.

The school newspaper, the Eagle, reported that the petition also calls for the administration to reveal which members are involved in the investigation against EI, as well as a provisional suspension for fraternity members and mandatory sexual assault prevention seminars for leaders in both school clubs and Greek organizations.

Watch News2Share’s report on the protest, as posted online on Thursday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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