(TW: Sexual Assault): ‘No means no’ addressing sexual violence on college campuses

Students have been protesting one of the fraternities on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s (UNL) campus. A 17-year-old freshman was brutally raped and left on the fraternity’s front lawn when a female student out walking noticed her and brought her to the emergency room. Students are outraged about the actions, or lack thereof, by the chancellor of the school.

Classes began Monday, Aug. 23. Within the first 24 hours of classes beginning, a rape occured at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, commonly known as FIGI. The report of the rape was filed at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning with the first protest taking place by 10 p.m. that night.

An enormous group of the student body of the campus began their protesting Tuesday night outside the FIJI house. It widely expanded each night as they all joined to move that the fraternity be banned. A petition was formally brought about and received more than 148,000 signatures by that Thursday.

Historically, FIGI has a reputation for sexual assault allegations as well as a frequent pattern of behavioral issues regarding hazing and drug and alcohol use. In fact, in 2017, the fraternity received a suspension due to their long list of rape allegations and other infractions.

Even though they were suspended, the school still let them recruit the incoming freshmen but wouldn’t allow them to live in the house. In August 2019, the fraternity then petitioned to lift their suspension based on the requirements they met, including education on sexual misconduct.

As of now, the house is put back on a suspension due to the Aug. 23 incident. The members were forced to move out of the house. An investigation is still underway.

The most repulsive fact about this incident is that it could have been avoided altogether.

The fraternity was known for having an abundance of rape allegations, drug and alcohol abuse and harrassment on the women’s rights organization on the UNL campus. Yet, they still got to keep their recognition as a fraternity and recruit members. Their only punishment was not living in the same house. As long as they kept up a good academic standing and were repeatedly educated on sexual misconduct, everything was “okay.”

What is most interesting is that the school felt that the education on sexual misconduct would fix it all. Part of the UNL commitment is that all students, faculty and staff are required to complete the “Sexual Misconduct and Prevention and Response Training.” Therefore, the members of the fraternity had already been educated on sexual misconduct beforehand. They should never have been put on a suspension. They should have been shut down entirely.

The solution to this madness is clear. There should be a zero tolerance policy for this kind of behavior with immediate expulsion and legal consequences as necessary.

If this were to happen on Augustana’s campus, I would also protest until the fraternity is expunged and the students punished to the fullest extent. No means no, and nobody should have to survive such an excruciating experience and feel uncomfortable and betrayed at the one place they are told is safe.