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Members of an American University fraternity allegedly sent text messages and emails discussing sexual and physical assaults of female students, according to an anonymous Tumblr site, The Fratergate AU, that posted the messages recently.
The AU Epsilon Iota chapter of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity lost its national charter in 2001, according to Camille Lepre, the university’s assistant vice president for communications and media. Though the fraternity isn’t officially recognized by AU or its national headquarters, it still has brothers and unofficially functions as a fraternity on campus. (The fraternity’s charter was revoked for “policy violations which involved hazing and alcohol abuse.”)
Lepre wouldn’t comment further on the allegations. But on Friday, Vice President of Campus Life Gail Short Hanson issued a campus-wide email saying the university is “outraged by the reprehensible content of this material,” adding that officials are “pursuing these matters deliberately and expeditiously so that violations of the law are addressed and university conduct code standards are upheld.”
The sampling of internal exchanges that the Tumblr site published include a slew of misogynistic and homophobic messages that consistently refers to female students as “bitches” and flippantly allude to sexually assaulting fellow female students. One alleged text message reads: “She’s the type of girl you need to fuck hard and rape in woods.” In a list of t-shirt ideas, one reads: “Epsilon Iota animal control: Slaying pussies and bitches since 1943.”
“Why do I have multiple people from [redacted] bitches to GDI dudes, texting me about EI ‘hitting girls’? Apparently, some girls on the soccer team are claiming that we (you) beat them up. What the fuck is this nonsense?” an email read.
The Tumblr site posted these messages and more last Thursday. Its author says someone forwarded them screenshots of these messages from the fraternity’s Google Groups thread.
“If official, these messages expose the homophobic, racist, and misogynistic tendencies of EI, who are officially not recognized but still operate on campus,” the Tumblr’s description reads. “These images are being leaked to promote the safety of AU students and speed up the disciplinary process for the individuals involved. Students have the right to know who is on their campus.”
AU’s student newspaper, The Eagle,reports that students are circulating a petition on Change.org, “No More Silence: Demand Sexual Assault Prevention and Consequences for Epsilon Iota,” urging the administration to take action against the fraternity members.
The messages can be read in their entirety here. The identities of the students who sent these were all redacted on the Tumblr account.