The administration at Vanderbilt University is now cracking down hard on vows against rape.
The august Southern school suspended the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity after a member sent an email to prospective pledges promising a “rape-free” event, reports local NBC affiliate WSMV.
The critical part of the email reads:
“Monday Night Football at 7:30. We have refreshments and stadium seating. This will be a rape-free event…I promise. Football is safe again.”
The subtext of the ATO email refers to a scandal surrounding Vanderbilt’s perennially lousy football team. Last June, four Vanderbilt football players allegedly raped and sexually battered a 21-year-old female student who was passed out in a dorm room.
The email also mentioned underage drinking and the possibility of sex with students in sororities.
Vanderbilt’s director of Greek Life issued a statement explaining that the school formally suspended the ATO fraternity on Oct. 3. All the frat’s activities — including events for new recruits — are now cancelled pending an investigation of a single email.
The national office of ATO described the email as “abhorrent” and expelled the unidentified member who wrote the email, according to WSMV. It apologized to all the email’s recipients and, in fact, to everyone associated with Vanderbilt. The national organization is conducting its own investigation.
Reactions among students on campus were mixed.
“I know members of that fraternity who are — who I would consider upstanding gentlemen, you know, so I don’t think that one or two people’s mistakes can really reflect the actions of anyone else,” senior Allie Mickels told the NBC station.
“I have friends in ATO and know that they don’t condone this sort of thing, but while it is, you know, just one email that was sent by one person, it doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said another senior, Roo George-Warren. “It’s a cultural problem that isn’t specific to any fraternity, greek system, university, state, or country and has to be taken seriously.”
As for the real, actual rape that happened on the watch of the current Vanderbilt administration, four football players have been indicted (and kicked off the team) for allegedly raping a student and using unspecified objects to sexually penetrate her — and filming the incident on a cellphone.
The ex-players are Brandon Vandenburg, Brandon Eric Banks, JaBorian “Tip” McKenzie and Cory Batey. At least one of them allegedly bashed through a dormitory security door, reports the Daily Mail. Vandenburg also allegedly placed a towel over a hallway surveillance camera.
The victim of the rape was allegedly Vandenburg’s passed-out date.