Petition to ban frats gets more than 1,200 signatures

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Students protest outside the University of Iowa president’s house on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. They were demanding action on allegations of a 2020 sex assault at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Reports of sexual assaults have fueled protests on at least eight U.S. college campuses early in the fall semester, and victims’ advocates say more young people are vulnerable this year as they settle into campus life, while students also are more engaged and adept at social media. (Vanessa Miller/The Gazette via AP)

Following nearly a week of protests regarding sexual assault on campus, a petition to ban UConn fraternities has received more than 1,200 signatures. 

The petition, accessible on Change.org, was started two months ago by the group UConn Advocacy. The group claims that colleges prioritize the money that frats make over student safety. The group acknowledged on its petition that while not all frat members committed rape and sexual assault,  a culture of protection exists for those who do. 

“Not ALL frat boys are rapists, BUT all frat boys stay silent to protect their ‘brothers’ and their frat from any consequences,” UConn Advocacy said via their petition.  

UConn immunology professor, Laura Haynes, signed the petition, saying that students should be able to feel safe on campus and that the benefits that fraternities provide for men are outweighed by the cost of women’s safety. 

“I’m very upset that UConn has such a high prevalence of female students being attacked,” Haynes said. “Women on campus, their safety is not worth any advantage that these men get from being in a fraternity.”  

Haynes summarized her opinion, writing in the petition that women need to feel safe on campus.  Currently, there have been student-organized protests at odds with UConn’s handling of sexual assault cases. UConn Interim President Radenka Maric addressed the ongoing problem in an email on Sunday. 

“Determining what more we can do will be an essential question for me and my administration,” Maric said in her email. 

The petition says it aims to create a “domino effect across the nation.” However, discussions of abolishing fraternities have gained little ground in the past. A 2014 opinion piece by Jessica Valenti of The Guardian was even titled, “Frat brothers rape 300% more. One in 5 women is sexually assaulted on campus. Should we ban frats?” Valenti’s article cited multiple cases of sexual violence in fraternities before concluding that the current measures taken by universities to prevent sexual assault may not be enough. 

“While anti-sexual violence programs are doing all the right things, they may not be doing enough,” Valenti wrote. 

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