Theta Chi, UMass Amherst Fraternity Targeted by Anti-Rape Protest, Claims to Be the Victim

Allegations of sexual assault have triggered large, rowdy protests at frat homes on campuses throughout the nation in latest weeks. Now, a type of fraternities is casting itself because the sufferer—demanding safety and calling on faculty directors to declare it an “harmless social gathering.”

The newest firestorm erupted on the College of Massachusetts at Amherst final Sunday, after somebody posted on the nameless app YikYak claiming {that a} scholar had been sexually assaulted at Theta Chi fraternity the evening earlier than. Roughly 300 individuals descended on the home, chanting “Fuck Theta Chi,” throwing bottles, and even flipping a automotive, in keeping with video taken at the scene.

By Monday evening, an estimated 500 individuals have been camped outdoors of the fraternity. As of Thursday, greater than 27,000 individuals had signed on to a petition calling for the varsity to droop or disband the fraternity.

The protest drove the CEO of the nationwide fraternity to jot down a letter to UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy asking the varsity to supply safety and to expel anybody discovered to have dedicated violence or property destruction in opposition to Theta Chi members. Claiming the fraternity brothers have been being “tried in a public sq. by a violent mob,” CEO Michael Mayer referred to as on faculty directors to publicly declare that Theta Chi was an “harmless social gathering” within the allegations.

“What’s UMass doing to proper the fallacious that has been inflicted on Theta Chi college students on campus?” Mayer wrote. “What’s UMass doing to make sure that Theta Chi members, additionally your college students, by no means must endure the assaults from a violent student-mob once more?”

Requested concerning the letter at a public discussion board Tuesday, Subbaswamy stated he had not learn it, however “[would] not be making a press release in assist of the fraternity.”

“Except they’ve been investigated, I’m not going to say there’s nothing occurring there, as a result of we don’t know there’s nothing occurring,” he advised the roughly 500 college students in attendance.

The state of affairs appeared to confound college officers, who condemned sexual assault on campus in broad phrases however stated they may not act on the most recent allegations as a result of they’d acquired no grievance from a survivor or witness. In a press release final week, Subbaswamy stated the varsity “can not take motion in opposition to alleged perpetrators, whether or not they be people or organizations, with out actionable proof.”

The chancellor additionally stated that anybody discovered to have participated in property destruction can be charged in accordance with the Pupil Code of Conduct. Two college students have already been arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, inciting a riot, and failure to disperse from a riot, in keeping with the Amherst Police Division.

In response to a request for remark, Theta Chi’s nationwide headquarters despatched The Each day Beast a duplicate of Mayer’s letter to Subbaswamy. The letter notes that “nobody has made any substantive declare or report back to the College” or the native police concerning the newest allegation, and claims members of the fraternity have been pressured to evacuate their home as a result of protests. “There isn’t any excuse for the damaging and alarming conduct of the scholars who organized and took part within the riots focusing on Theta Chi,” it says.

However scholar organizers say the fraternity is lacking the purpose. Anna Morel-Paletta, a sophomore at UMass who helped arrange Tuesday’s open discussion board, stated the protests have been a response to what she referred to as a “historical past” of violent occasions at Theta Chi. She has been working with different college students to gather experiences of violence on the frat home and says they’ve up to now acquired 55.

“I feel it’s so hypocritical,” Morel-Paletta stated of the letter. “They’re those that must be referred to as a violent mob in my view.”

“I feel the fraternity is specializing in the fallacious subject right here, as a result of they’re centered extra on their property and never essentially the allegations in opposition to them,” added Raaya Alim, president of the UMass chapter of the anti-sexual-assault group It’s On Us. “In the event that they’re not going to handle it, extra persons are going to suspect that there is extra stuff occurring behind closed doorways.”

The protests got here amid related demonstrations outdoors fraternities at a number of school campuses, together with the College of Kansas and the College of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Nebraska, an estimated 1,000 individuals surrounded a fraternity house final month after an allegation of a sexual assault there, yelling the identify of the accused and chanting, “Kick him out!” Greater than a thousand individuals swarmed the Kansas frat house earlier this month after a lady was allegedly drugged and raped. The protestors returned last week after the campus ​​Public Security Workplace acquired a second report of rape.

“Fraternity males are more likely than non-fraternal males to have interaction in sexual assault,” one of many protest organizers advised The Each day Beast on the time. “Rape tradition is a large a part of Greek tradition, it’s not one thing that has ever gone away.” | Theta Chi, UMass Amherst Fraternity Focused by Anti-Rape Protest, Claims to Be the Sufferer


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