Earlier this year, a Florida International University student broke news that FIU's Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity members were secretly joking about rape and sending stolen nude photos of women to one another in secret group chats. In October, a school spokesperson confirmed the university had launched an investigation into the frat, which was eventually suspended.
In the meantime, Florida State University had become embroiled in its own scandals following an alcohol-related student death. FSU took the extraordinary measure of suspending all Greek life on its campus indefinitely — and now FIU has followed suit, at least temporarily.
"After serious consideration, and keeping the safety of our students top of mind, I have decided to pause all Greek activities on our campuses for at least one month starting January 1, 2018," FIU President Mark Rosenberg said today in a news release.
Rosenberg did not reference the recent issues at TKE in his message and instead simply cited unnamed "safety" and "behavior" issues stemming from campus fraternities. But after repeated nude-photo scandals — FIU's Pi Kappa Alpha frat was suspended in 2013 after joking online about drug-dealing and posting "creep shots" of naked women — it's clear something is very wrong with frat culture at FIU. (And
This past September, someone sent copies of a chat thread from TKE to school administrators and the university's Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils.
“FIU is aware of the images described in the story and has no tolerance for this type of behavior," Maydel Santana, a spokeswoman for the school, told New Times earlier this year. "We are unable to comment further pending the conclusion of an investigation.”
FIU student Helen Barreto first published the chat logs online. They show male students joking about statutory rape and having sex with underage girls.
"[I] wanna feel like a ped," one man wrote, using shorthand for the word "pedophile."
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In other chats, students made anti-Semitic comments and also made fun of Diana Alduncin, a 22-year-old student who died this year after falling from a cliff in Greece.
Here's the university's letter in full:
After serious consideration, and keeping the safety of our students top of mind, I have decided to pause all Greek activities on our campuses for at least one month starting January 1, 2018.
This decision is a consequence of growing concerns about the state of fraternity and sorority life at FIU as well as around the nation, and is consistent with decisions made at other universities. The purpose of this pause in Greek activities is to allow time for the Greek community and university administrators to review and strengthen policies and procedures with the goal of enhancing safety and promoting behavior that is consistent with FIU’s values and our Student Code of Conduct.
More details regarding this pause will be shared with members of the Greek councils, chapter members, advisors, and interested alumni. In general, all activities are suspended with the exception of chapter/council meetings and educational workshops that are held for the purpose of improving Greek life at FIU and discussing next steps.
I appreciate the work done thus far by Greek leaders who understand that the current state is not acceptable. In particular, I want to thank the presidents of Panhellenic, Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic and Multicultural Greek councils, who have spent significant time meeting with me during the past few months. I look forward to their continued efforts to improve the Greek community at FIU.
I hope all members of the Greek community at FIU will join me in ensuring that we take this opportunity to establish and observe norms that are consistent with safe and respectful behavior that uplifts the community and provides a supportive culture of growth and tolerance.
If you have any questions regarding this pause, please contact Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford, who is working closely with me on this critical initiative, at Lunsford@fiu.edu.