The University of Nebraska-Lincoln shut down the Phi Gamma Delta Frat house Wednesday following allegations of sexual assault and student protest.
The protest, which began Tuesday night and doubled in size on Wednesday, saw over 1,000 students chanting “No means no!” at the fraternity after news broke of an alleged rape. A Change.org petition to ban Phi Gamma Delta, also known as “Fiji,” was nearing over 230,000 signatures, and it’s still rising even after the school shut the frat house down.
“We are closing the fraternity house and suspending operations for the Fiji chapter while this investigation is ongoing, due to potential violations of that probation,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said in an official statement. “This is the responsible action to take for everyone involved.”
“We are committed to creating a safe campus environment for our students, faculty, and staff,” Green continued. “No one should be a victim of sexual assault or harassment, and we have taken a number of steps to provide additional support and reporting mechanisms for our campus.”
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the alleged assault was just one of 103 incidents that have been reported to university police over the last decade and a half.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Chief Hassan Ramzah said that the alleged assault at Phi Gamma Delta, which was reported around 3:47 a.m. on Tuesday, is under investigation, and that they are “looking at a variety of different factors based on what was reported.”
During the protest, a student named Dominique Liu-Sang, who is a staunch defender of women’s rights on campus and a voice against racial bias in policing, took a bullhorn and led the students through a five-minute moment of silence for the victim.
The 22-year-old activist then urged every student there to call upon and write emails to Chancellor Ronnie Green. “You pay to be safe here,” Liu-Sang told the crowd.
The Phi Gamma Delta frat house has a history of offenses and was suspended for hazing and excessive drinking from 2017 to 2020. In 2017, the fraternity was also reported to have accosted women at a Women’s March, chanting “no means yes.”
Protestors have asked for even stricter measures, such as banning the fraternity forever, and the Change.org petition has changed to reflect that request.
“They need to be gone permanently, because anything else contributes to the reason why so many women and victims don’t speak up about sexual violence and rape,” someone commented on the online petition. “Because nobody will believe them, or listen, or do anything about it. Believe women, and ban FIJI.”
The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity was silent all through the protests but released a short statement that read: “As the investigation continues, we are prepared to take immediate, appropriate action to ensure the safety and security of all who are part of or visit Phi Gamma Delta.”
According to The Cut, men in fraternities are three times more likely to commit rape than men outside of Greek life. Women who engage with sororities and Greek life are also 74 percent more likely to experience sexual assault.
The culture surrounding Greek life has been hard to change at major universities, particularly because a lot of major donors have come from some of the wealthiest fraternities.
The school’s student government also shared a list of resources and ways for students to reach out as the investigations continue. “The most powerful tool you have is your voice,” the UNL student body wrote. “Please use it productively and safely. We are all always an open door for survivors and students. Please do not hesitate to reach out.”
If you or a loved one need to report an incident, The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline is (808)-656-4673.