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American University students rallied this afternoon, demanding a swift response from the school's administration to the alleged actions of an underground fraternity.
About 50 students marched across the university carrying handmade signs to protest what they say is the school's complacency regarding the banned Epsilon Iota fraternity. Members of the fraternity, which is not recognized as a university student group, are accused of beating a fellow student on April 7. And recently, 70 pages of emails allegedly written by Epsilon Iota members containing graphic and sexually violent language surfaced.
The university's sexual assault prevention coordinator David Rappaport spoke about the issue today on WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show. "These emails are one representation of a culture that exists not just on our campus, not just in one group of men, one fraternity, one Greek life, or athletics, but our culture as a whole," Rappaport said.
Students marched to university president Neil Kerwin's office, where they presented their demands to Chief of Staff David Taylor. They asked for sexual-assault prevention training during orientation, as well as mandatory training for fraternities and sororities. And they asked the university to hire a full-time rape and sexual assault survivor advocate.
"This is like an issue everyone needs to be about," says Amanda Gould, who helped organize today's rally. "It's not a laughing issue. It's absolutely not. So yeah, we do need to reach out to our peers. We need to be demanding better resources, better education on campus."
The university's website warns students not to join the banned fraternity or attend its events. AU officials have promised to fully apply the school's student-conduct code to any wrongdoers, but say they must respect regulations regarding student privacy as well as due process.
Full disclosure: WAMU is affiliated with American University.