Students demand response on rape messages

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- Dozens of concerned American University students marched on the college president's office today.

They were demanding a stronger response to some horrible leaked emails from an underground fraternity.

The students are so angry about the messages describing rape and assault by a fraternity that was banned over a decade ago, that they want the college to deal with current members as a gang.

"These are AU students being victimized. These are AU students perpetrating these actions. The university is responsible," said protest organizer Amanda Gould.

The anonymously leaked messages between members of the underground Epsilon Iota group describe raping a woman in the woods. They joke about date rape drugs. And they slur ethnic groups.

"Homophobia, sexism, misogyny... racism, discussion of rape, date rape, sexual violence, assault, assault and battery. Just absolutely gut-wrenching disgusting things," says Zachery Moore, a member of a protest group that calls itself "No More Silence."

A couple of dozen protesters marched around the quad and up the hill to the President's office to deliver a petition on the website signed by almost 1,600 people.

American University administrators say they take the allegations seriously. And that assault, sexual assault, and bullying will be confronted head on. "The fact that we've got this at the vice presidential level, at the trustee level, at the Presidential level, is an indication we're taking it seriously," chief of staff David Taylor told the protesters.

American University is far from alone.

The White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault says as many as one in five women is attacked in their college years. And almost two-thirds of the victims are in their very first year at college.

AU administrators say they are intensely investigating. They are working with police on any potential criminal charges. And they say they will also apply the student code of conduct. But they also say people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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