Update as of 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12: Steve Bisese, vice president for student development, sent an email to students, staff and faculty at 6:17 p.m. Monday announcing the suspension of Kappa Alpha Order. Bisese wrote that "the appropriate University conduct process has been initiated" and that administrators would meet with leaders from all Greek organizations to discuss campus culture.
University of Richmond's chapter of Kappa Alpha Order has been suspended by its national headquarters and the university suspended all chapter activities pending a thorough investigation, according to statements from Kappa Alpha Order’s National Administrative Office and the University of Richmond.
The suspension comes after a member of Richmond's Kappa Alpha Order chapter emailed more than 95 students, including freshmen, at 12:55 p.m. Friday, the first night of lodges.
"Tonight's the type of night that makes fathers afraid to send their daughters away to school," the email reads. "Let's get it."
The email, titled, "The wait is finally over," tells recipients to "make sure your ass makes it" to the opening of the lodges where beer is served and students dress to themes determined by fraternities.
The email is below:
The following statements came after The Collegian shared the email and requested comment.
University of Richmond issued the following statement:
We learned this morning of an email from two undergraduate members of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity that was sent to about 100 students on campus. The e-mail contained grossly offensive language and suggestions of behavior inconsistent with our policies concerning Greek life and with the caring nature of our campus community. As a result, the University has suspended all chapter operations, activities, and events pending a thorough investigation. We have also contacted the national Kappa Alpha Headquarters, which promptly suspended the chapter while it conducts its own membership review and investigation.
University administration will be meeting with Greek leadership to discuss the suspension and to reiterate our expectations for Greek Life, which include standards of behavior, sustaining a respectful and safe campus climate, and the core values of service, leadership, scholarship and fellowship.
Richmond's Kappa Alpha Order chapter president deferred comment to the fraternity's National Administrative Office, which issued the following statement:
Gentlemanly conduct is at the core of Kappa Alpha Order’s values. Due to actions contrary to those values and our Risk Management Policy, the chapter operations have been temporarily suspended at the University of Richmond pending the outcome of an in-depth, individual review and chapter investigation. The National Administrative Office is working in conjunction with the University of Richmond administration and chapter leadership.
University of Richmond's Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council, the student-led governing bodies for Greek Life, issued the following statement:
In light of recent events, and specifically this email correspondence, the IFC and Panhellenic Council are deeply disheartened and frustrated. As a community we work hard to provide relevant education, programming, and support, and our leadership has been continuously focused on improving and increasing risk and safety precautions. As a whole, U of R’s Fraternity and Sorority organizations look always to promote a healthy and proactive community. The IFC and Panhellenic Council firmly believe that there have been significant strides towards a safer social scene on campus. This message completely undercuts these efforts and is not representative of our Greek community’s values. We stand with the University of Richmond community in the goal of sexual assault prevention. We will continue to be active in community wide efforts to make our campus a positive environment for all students.
The email follows a series of high-profile discussions about rape culture after two Westhampton College students published accounts condemning the administration's handling of their sexual assault cases. In multiple meetings since Thursday, students and alumni have called for change within both the administration and student culture.
The Collegian conducted a survey in spring of 2015 in which 42 percent of undergraduate female students participated. Of the undergraduate female respondents, 12.6 percent reported being sexually assaulted while at Richmond.
The university has been under federal investigation for a Title IX policy complaint since June of 2014. Since then, Cecilia Carreras, a Westhampton College student, has filed a complaint with the Department of Education over the handling of her Title IX case in 2015, Carreras said.
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