Oct 11, 2013 10:17 AM EDT
Vanderbilt Suspends Fraternity for Making Fun of an Ongoing Campus Rape Case
Vanderbilt University has formally suspended the local chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) Oct.3, for sending out an email mocking an ongoing rape case investigation. The email sent by one of its brothers to potential new members of the fraternity on Sept.22, included upcoming events that listed a Monday Night Football viewing at the house.
"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 email said, wbtv reports.
The author of the email was indirectly referring to the rape scandal involving four former members of the Vanderbilt football team. According to Johnson City Press, the email makes light of the case in which the dismissed players are accused of raping an unconscious female student.
The university released a statement denouncing the email, Tennessean reports.
'It conveys a message that is reprehensible in its disrespect for women and is not representative of the Vanderbilt University student body or the values that we uphold as a community,' wrote Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt's vice chancellor for public affairs.
Following the fraternity's suspension, all its events have been annulled including recruiting proceedings. The suspension will continue pending an internal investigation at both the university and the national office.
"The suspension prohibits all ATO activities, including new member education activities," Fortune told Tennessean. "The action was taken because of offensive content throughout the message as well as allegations of multiple violations of university and Interfraternity Council policies."
Along with the suspension, the fraternity is also facing disciplinary actions from their national office.
ATO's CEO Wynn Smiley described the email as 'abohorrent' and said that they have also placed the chapter under suspension pending an internal investigation, the Daily Mail UK reported. Smiley told the Johnson City Press that the local chapter had apologized to the email's recipients and to the campus community.
Despite regretting the email, the members responsible for sending out the email have been barred from the fraternity.
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