The leaked emails have prompted a strong response on the campus of American University.
American University in Northwest Washington is investigating potential student misconduct after an anonymous leak of disturbing emails and text messages allegedly linked to a banned fraternity.
The more than 70 pages of electronic messages contain sexist and racist comments and mention drug use and rape. The emails and texts are alleged to have been written by members of the Epsilon Iota fraternity, which was banned from AU in 2001 for hazing and alcohol abuse. The fraternity is believed to still exist as an underground group.
University President Neil Kerwin says the administration is working with law enforcement to investigate the allegations in a swift and thorough manner and that the student conduct code will be applied to the fullest extent.
About 1,000 people have signed an online petition demanding action from the university on the fraternity.
Among those demands:
- Clarification of who in University administration is involved in the investigation, and also a mechanism by which the University will update us on the investigation. We would like complete transparency regarding the progression of any investigation.
- Interim suspension of all persons involved in the email thread /suspected criminals pending their investigation.
- An official statement from the University saying that involvement in EI will be treated as gang activity, and that any incidents of student involvement in EI will be treated as such. Furthermore, disciplinary action for any student wearing EI letters on campus should be taken.
- Expulsion of all EI members that 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.
Kerwin says the school needs to balance transparency in its investigation while adhering to due process and all regulations regarding student privacy.
WAMU is licensed to American University.