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Entries in Greek Life (2)

Wednesday
Dec142011

Vermont Frat Suspended over Rape Quiz

Hemera/Thinkstock(BURLINGTON, Vt.) -- A fraternity at the University of Vermont has been suspended after circulating a quiz asking members who they would most like to rape.

The survey, which included other more mundane questions about age and grade level, ended with the question, "If I could rape someone, who would it be?"

The quiz, which was given to frat members, was passed from a student to administrators. The school suspended the fraternity Tuesday night and launched an immediate investigation into the quiz and the frat, according to ABC affiliate WVNY.

"This is very appalling to us, quite shocking and quite disconcerting," said Annie Stevens, the associate vice president for student and campus life at the University of Vermont, located in Burlington, Vt.

The national organization of Sigma Phi Epsilon, which oversees campus chapters, called on the University of Vermont chapter to cease operations.

"Sigma Phi Epsilon and its leadership programs are built on the concept of respect for both self and others. Any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated by the fraternity," the organization said in a statement.

The national fraternity said it, too, is investigating the Vermont chapter for policy violations.

While the university was not available for comment about whether the quiz identified any current students as possible targets, they did confirm to WVNY that police are now involved in the investigation into the fraternity.

"Police services are involved," Stevens said. "It has to with the safety of students, since it references rape."

The campus police were not able to comment on the investigation. Burlington police said they were not involved.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct172011

University of Iowa Weighs Adding a Gay Fraternity on Campus

Scott Morgan/Getty Images(IOWA CITY, Iowa) -- The University of Iowa may be the site of the newest chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a fraternity for gay and bisexual men, and their straight allies.

The university will gauge student interest in opening a chapter at a meeting Oct. 25, but until then Kelly Jo Karnes, associate director of the university's Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, is confident that "all signs say yes, there is interest."

Karnes and her colleagues are encouraged by the success of a Delta Lambda Phi chapter that opened in 2005 at nearby Iowa State University.

"We know, OK, this can work in the Midwest," Karnes said. "We don't need to be in an East Coast or West Coast school to do this."

Opening a chapter of a gay fraternity is part of a larger strategy to expand Greek life on the University of Iowa campus, said Karnes. "We want to make sure we're offering a wide variety of groups," Karnes said. "You don't have to have a cookie-cutter experience in Greek life."

Chris Newman, the executive director of Delta Lambda Phi, said that interest in the gay fraternity has grown. Last year alone, it added eight chapters, increasing the total number from 19 to 27 nationwide. The fraternity has outposts at such schools as New York University, Vanderbilt and the University of Arizona. There's even a "colony" chapter at McGill University in Montreal. While still a small, Delta Lambda Phi is larger than gay fraternity Sigma Phi Beta or Gamma Rho Lambda, a lesbian sorority.

Newman said starting Delta Lambda Phi chapters at Midwestern state schools can be easier than opening them in large urban centers of the Northeast.

"A lot of those Midwestern schools, they are sort of these little liberal centers in typically conservative states, and they have very strong Greek systems because there isn't much else to do when you're in the middle of a cornfield," he said. "We actually struggle in urban areas, because there's no interest -- there are so many other outlets."

For Joe Picini, co-founder of BornLikeThis.org, an LGBTQ support website, gay fraternities might be stronger in rural areas because lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students don't have as many outlets available to them. An alumnus of New York University, Picini was vice president of the campus chapter of Delta Lambda Phi. "In urban settings," he said, "there is already a very strong sense of a gay community."

Schools that don't have gay Greek organizations often offer other social and service opportunities for LGBTQ students. William Atkins, assistant director of Greek life at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, said the school hadn't yet measured student interest in starting a gay fraternity, but that LGBTQ students who were already in Greek organizations worked for the community through Lambda Alliance, a group that recognizes sexual diversity in fraternities and sororities.

An increase in LGBTQ services could be part of a broader movement that recognizes gay marriage and gays serving in the military. "There's a widening conversation in general about the lives of LGBTQ people," said Gabe Javier, the director of the LGBTQ campus center at University of Wisconsin-Madison. And that leads to more resources being provided across the board, from community groups to LGBTQ-focused Greek life.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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