An Emory student reported that she was the victim of a rape by two males at the Beta Theta Pi (Beta) fraternity house at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a University-wide email sent on Monday afternoon.
According to the email, sent by Interim Vice President for Communications and Marketing Nancy Seideman, the victim said she was acquainted with the alleged perpetrators prior to the reported incident at 15 Eagle Row.
Both of the alleged perpetrators were Emory students, according to the email. The email does not specify whether they were members of the fraternity.
Emory Police Department (EPD) Lt. Cheryl Elliott said she could not comment on the reported incident at this time. But the University said in a Nov. 4 statement to the Wheel that EPD and the Division of Campus Life have interviewed the student and are conducting an investigation, which is still active.
EPD also executed a search warrant Sunday for the fraternity house to gather evidence, according to the statement.
Staff members in the Division of Campus Life have “provided the student with ongoing support and advised her of available counseling resources,” the University said in the statement.
College senior and Beta President Niko Franchilli wrote in a statement to the Wheel on behalf of both himself and Beta fraternity, “The chapter leadership is aware of the allegations, and we take them very seriously. Our chapter will cooperate fully with local law enforcement and University officials throughout any investigation. At this time we must reserve further comment out of respect for the ongoing process.”
Megan Janasiewicz, the director of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, did not immediately respond to an email message and phone calls for comment Monday.
The alleged rape that occurred this past weekend comes amid more reports of sexual assaults on campus. The Wheel reported Oct. 3 that, based on data from Emory’s annual security report, 25 rapes were reported in 2012 – a rise from the 12 reported in 2011 and 10 in 2010. Lauren Bernstein, assistant director of the Respect Program, wrote in an email to the Wheel that she believes increased student reporting of sexual assault is “directly correlated to an increase in student engagement and outreach.”
“More students who have been affected by sexual violence are coming forward to get help and support,” Bernstein said, adding that the issue affects about one in four women and one in 33 men on college campuses across the nation.
College senior Emily Machesney, peer facilitator of Sexual Assault Peer Advocates, said more survivors feeling comfortable reporting assaults to police “suggests our campus is taking steps in the right direction.”
“Unfortunately, sexual assault is a reality on our campus,” she said. “However, we’ve made strides in the past few years.”
She pointed, for example, to the more than 1,000 students who have been SAPA-trained and the development of the Respect Program.
Bernstein added that she is not able to comment on a specific reported incident but noted that at Emory, “we believe [sexual violence] is not inevitable.”
College senior and Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Jason Stern wrote in an email to the Wheel that IFC takes the allegation “very seriously.”
“The Interfraternity Council is committed to ensuring the safety of students in our spaces,” Stern wrote. “IFC and ISC [Intersorority Council] admire the courage of the survivor for reporting the incident so that appropriate action can be taken, which will increase awareness about the issue of sexual assault on campus.”
Bernstein wrote that Health Promotion Specialist for the Respect Program Drew Rizzo is currently collaborating closely with the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, the Greek councils and students on the Greek Sexual Assault Prevention Initiative.
The email sent to the Emory community offers general safety tips for students, including ensuring that any sexual act is okay with one’s partner and remembering that consent is “an active process, not the absence of ‘no.'”
The email also encourages students to stay alert, be aware of their surroundings, intervene on a situation that seems uncomfortable for another student and keep in mind that the majority of sexual assaults are “perpetrated by someone the survivor knows.”
Anyone with information, the email states, is encouraged to contact EPD at 404-727-6111.
News Co-Editors Dustin Slade and Karishma Mehrotra and Asst. News Editor Rupsha Basu contributed reporting.
– By Jordan Friedman
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, you have support at Emory. Please contact Lauren (LB) Bernstein, Assistant Director for the Respect Program at 404.727.1514 or [email protected] for confidential support. You can also learn more about the Respect Program at respect.emory.edu.