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Willamette University Fraternity Sigma Chi Booted Off Campus Following Facebook Controversy

07/29/2013 11:48 am ET
Facebook: Sigma Chi

A fraternity at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., has lost its house as a result of controversial and sexist comments, made on a private Facebook page, that were leaked in May.

David Douglass, dean of campus life at Willamette, announced Thursday a series of sanctions imposed on the Sigma Chi fraternity, including booting everyone from the chapter house. The fraternity also cannot hold social events over the next year and is not allowed to recruit or initiate new members. All current members must participate in programming endorsed by Willamette and "related to healthy masculinity."

The controversy surfaced in May when a WordPress site called "willamettetruth" posted screenshots from a private Facebook group, showing Sigma Chi members mocking administrators, making sexist comments and discussing hazing. Sigma Chi brothers complained about members being "unsocial," requesting brothers "invite any girl who has a pulse" to their house parties, and stated "woman's [sic] rights are the biggest joke in the US. Bitches ain't shit." (The screenshots have since been removed from the website.)

The fraternity voted last week to expel 12 of its members as a result of the Facebook posts, the Statesman Journal reports.

The university, along with the fraternity's national organization, promptly began investigating Sigma Chi chapter following the leak. Douglass said the university's "review began with, but was not limited to, behavior described" in the Facebook posts.

"We completely support what the school has done," Sigma Chi national executive director Mike Dunn told the Statesman Journal.

Conduct reviews for individual students will begin in the fall, which could result in additional punishments.

Douglass said, "The issues raised last spring went well beyond the specific actions of one fraternity," and he will unveil recommendations in August from the President's Working Group on Sexual Assault and Harassment. The group was tasked with reviewing sexual assault prevention efforts and response policies and procedures.

The Sigma Chi Facebook controversy, and the sexist remarks made by frat brothers, sparked a debate on campus about the response to sexual violence at the school.

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