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A liberal student group at Ohio University accused the campus’s Acacia fraternity of “raping girls” in a pamphlet passed out on Sunday, and a professor at the college recommends the chapter sue their accusers for libel.
The Ohio University Student Union passed out a 10-page “disorientation guide” that says the Acacia fraternity is “notorious” for “drugging their drinks [at parties] and raping girls.”
From The Post:
Photos of the sheet appeared online, but were removed quickly.
Ryan Powers, a member of the OU Student Union, said Sunday night that the tip sheet was part of the union’s 10-page “disorientation guide.”
“We, the Student Union, believe in warning people because Acacia are notorious for this certain behavior,” Powers said. “We stand by our statements, however, we did not intend to implicate individual members of Acacia fraternity.”
“Acacia is aware of the things people say about them,” Powers said. “We said they are ‘notorious.’ We did not say they were all rapists, but based off a lot of women testimonials, the conclusion we came to is this is a house to avoid.”
Here’s the thing, Ryan. Saying a fraternity is “notorious” for rape is just as detrimental as saying they are rapists. Also, how could you accuse the entire fraternity, and then say you never intended to accuse individual members?
The union’s claims have no evidence other than campus rumor and hearsay, and Eddith Dashiell, an associate communications professor at Ohio University, says the Acacia fraternity should sue.
“If this is a national organization, then the court may rule that the frat would have to prove actual malice,” Dashiell said in an email. “The creators of the pamphlet is (sic) accusing the fraternity of illegal activity. If I were the fraternity’s attorney I would force the creators of the pamphlet to prove that their accusations are true.”
A member of the OU Greek community who calls herself Danielle E. posted a photo of the pamphlet on a blog. Among a list including the locations of free blue books and condoms on campus, there reads the warning:
“DO NOT GO TO THE ‘BLUE HOUSE’, THE ACACIA FRATERNITY HOUSE LOCATED ACROSS FROM THE BP ON COURT ST. THEY ARE NOTORIOUS FOR DRUGGING THEIR FREE DRINKS AND RAPING GIRLS.”
Danielle also defends the Acacia fraternity. She says the “blue house” the union warns of is not an official Acacia house, and that the residence hosts open parties, which may have opened the doors for non-fraternity members who may have been responsible for drugging and raping women. She also says the union should have focused on general rape prevention techniques rather than slandering a fraternity on the basis of rumor.
In fact, the “blue house” is not officially associated with ACACIA at all. The actual ACACIA fraternity house, which has their letters on it, is located on E. State St. NOT COURT ST. Secondly, the “blue house” has open parties, which means that everyone and their mothers can get into those parties. So what does that have to do with anything? Well it means that once upon a time, a random person (not associated with ACACIA) could have roofied some poor girl. There are a lot of people at these parties, to assume that all of them are in ACACIA is ridiculous. I for one have had multiple pleasant experiences with the gentlemen of ACACIA. I hope that has been everyone else’s experiences with them as well.
There are two main lessons to take away from this whole mess.
For the union group, it would be to find solid evidence before making such life-ruining claims. Did you learn nothing from last year’s Rolling Stone fiasco?
For the brothers of Acacia, it would be to stop hosting open parties. I know how awesome a Project X-style, invite-everyone-in-the-school-type party sounds, and I wish Greeks could do that. Throwing an open party every now and then would not only help to mend the exclusionary reputation of Greek life, but it would make for a theoretically kick-ass time.
Unfortunately, open parties are impossible in the current collegiate climate. Creepy dudes who you would never give a bid to will find their way in, and when they do, women can get hurt, and terrible rumors like this can spread. If someone does get hurt, you can guarantee the college and the media will be looking for someone to blame, and Greek letters (whether they were physically mounted to the front of the house or not) are a convenient target.
To prevent the incident at Ohio University from happening to your chapter, remember these five words. They’re incredibly cliché and are often used to mock fraternities for thinking they’re better than others, but they might just save your ass someday.
“Who do you know here?”.
Image via YouTube