Sigma Phi Epsilon closes UVM chapter

Dec. 17, 2011 at 12:40 PM

BURLINGTON, Vt., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity closed its University of Vermont chapter after a survey that asked members who they would like to rape surfaced.

The closure was made public by UVM and the fraternity Friday, the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported.

"Without suggesting that every member had knowledge of this questionnaire, the questions asked in the document are deplorable and absolutely inconsistent with our values," Brian Warren, executive director of the Virginia-based fraternity, said in a statement.

The survey, conducted earlier this week, reportedly asked Sig Ep members, "If you could rape someone, who would it be?"

"Sigma Phi Epsilon will collaborate with the university's Office of Student Life to consider the potential return to UVM at the appropriate time, which would occur only by mutual agreement," the fraternity said in its statement.

The closure came after a police investigation, an online petition demanding the frat house be shut down, which gained more than 3,500 signatures, and an on-campus rally protesting Sig Ep, the survey and what protesters called a broader culture that supports sexual violence against women.

"From the beginning of this unfortunate situation, the national representatives of Sigma Phi Epsilon have been thorough, respectful, and very serious in investigating this matter, reaching this conclusion after having weighed the totality of the facts and information available to them," UVM Interim President John Bramley and Provost Jane E. Knodell wrote Friday.

"We respect and support their decision, and appreciate their interest in maintaining a dialogue going forward to identify lessons learned from all of this, as well as exploring educational strategies and opportunities to address pervasive cultural issues that contributed to this egregious situation," the administrators said.

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