It was a preview of sorts of a march for change Wednesday night. A small group of American University students were getting ready for a larger rally on campus Thursday to take a stand against what they say is a culture of rape on university campuses, including their own.
“This issue of sexual assault is too long being pushed under the rug,” said student Amanda Gould. “Every time we have a problem with roofies or sexual assault or violence from Epsilon Iota, we’re told that the university is not affiliated with [the unrecognized fraternity] and it’s not their problem. It is their problem.”
Their message to university officials: do something now to protect students.
“We the students have a huge problem with the way sexual assault is being treated in campus,” said Jes Grobman. “Epsilon Iota is just one symptom of a larger problem.”
It all comes in the wake of leaked emails from members of the Epsilon Iota chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. The fraternity has not been recognized by the university since 2001.
More than 70 pages of internal communication from the fraternity members were leaked on April 17. The emails talk about rape, assault and battery. They are misogynistic, homophobic and racist.
“They are not just words without meaning,” said Grobman. “They represent ideas that these people have and act upon. When these ideas are spread, not only do they encourage and allow sexual assaults to take place, they discourage women from coming forward.
These students who are part of the group AU No More Silence is calling on the university to punish members of the fraternity and make permanent changes to stop sexual assaults on the campus. Not just now but for the future.