WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9) -- American University is pledging swift action after leaked messages outlined some horrible behavior by an underground fraternity.
The leaked messages describe hitting and raping women, popping and trading pills, and heavy drinking.
All messages are by members of a fraternity that was banned by the campus for hazing and drinking, more than a decade ago.
Almost 900 people have already signed a petition at Change.org that says the students involved in these messages are a threat to campus safety.
It demands the expulsion of all members of the unregistered Epsilon Iota fraternity who have watched or taken part in sexual violence.
The texts and emails are almost too graphic to show on Television or on our station website. "I feel threatened. I feel bad. I'm scared," says one woman student. One text talks about raping a woman in the woods and an email describes a fraternity recruitment process that includes date rape drugs and slurs against ethnic and religious minorities.
All were leaked anonymously on a Tumblr blog page; all allegedly sent by members of the Epsilon Iota chapter of Alpha Tau Omega at American University.
"I have friends personally who have been rooffied by EI," says Amanda Gould, who organized the petition drive, referring to a date rape drug. "I know they're renowned for having sexual assault problems. Their initiation process is literally stealing from freshman dorms. And their emails are just proof of how messed up they are."
The petition demands a tougher response by the university. "We want (Epsilon Iota) to be treated as a gang. And we want the university to see that as potential reason to expel or suspend."
AU President Neil Kerwin is promising a swift and deliberate investigation. He says he will apply the student conduct code to the fullest extent.
But some students warn against going too far. "I have friends that are in the frat," says sophomore Paola Wolf. "Not all of them are the same."
"And now people are receiving death threats," says junior Helen Brumley. "It's a very irresponsible way of going about addressing this issue."
AU president Kerwin says this situation raises broad concerns about dangerous, damaging and illegal behavior among students.The numbers of sexual attacks at U.S. colleges is alarming. Somewhere between one in 50 and one in four women are assaulted at college. Kerwin says he is soliciting ideas to change student behavior.