This week, a pledge at the Missouri State chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity has been disciplined and suspended for harassing a transgender woman he met online.
Lemalu, 21, said she met the fraternity pledge through an online dating app and he requested her phone number.
“He gave out my personal number to his friends last night and they harassed me to answer my phone and sent me text messages and tried face-timing me [using a video phone app] as part of their sick enjoyment,” she posted Tuesday, describing the messages as “very insinuating, very sexual.”
What makes this story different from many others is how the fraternity leadership of Sigma Nu responded to the incident. Chapter President Luke Weisboeck demonstrated an “immediate and genuinely apologetic” approach as he contacted Lemalu and listened to her side of the story.
Afterwards, Weisboeck quickly notified his national leadership, the university, and their Title IX coordinator. As per national procedures, the pledge was immediately suspended and the incident is being “investigated.”
Here’s my take on the whole mess:
Sending a bunch of gross texts to a random person is exactly the kind of stupid bullshit that pledges think is funny. And I won’t lie, I’ve engaged in similar stuff myself. But there’s a huge difference between messing around with the guys in your pledge class and targeting an outside person from (it needs to be said) a vulnerable and protected group.
It’s time for this kind of thing to stop. Regardless of your personal feelings, headlines like “Fraternity Harasses Transgender Person” are bad for everybody. The world has changed. Like it or not, it’s just not okay to be a dumbass anymore.
I want to personally congratulate Weisboeck for doing exactly what he should have in this situation. The way he reached out to Lemalu and personally attempted to heal some of the hurt was truly a class act and changed the entire tone of the story to the positive.
I’m not usually the biggest fan of reporting fellow members for doing dumb shit directly to the authorities, but this guy was a freaking pledge. You don’t want that kind of person in your organization. If nothing else, it’s a massive liability.
Good work, Sigma Nu. Keep it up..
Image via Twitter/@MSUSigmaNu