COLLEGE
12/11/2014 03:27 pm ET Updated Dec 12, 2014

Student Body President Pressured To Resign After His Frat Harassed Anti-Rape Activists

A student activist group at San Diego State University is calling for the resignation of the student body president because he belongs to one of two fraternities whose members are accused of waving dildos, throwing eggs and shouting obscenities at Take Back The Night marchers last month.

Marchers participating in the anti-sexual assault march reported taunts from the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi fraternity houses, according to the Daily Aztec, an independent campus newspaper. Sigma Phi Epsilon members allegedly shouted obscenities at marchers, while Delta Sigma Phi brothers reportedly waved sex toys and threw eggs.

The student body president, Jonathan Cole, is a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon and has been involved in the school's InterFraternity Council. The Concerned Students of SDSU, a group focused on sexual assault awareness, says that because Cole hasn't publicly criticized what happened during the Take Back The Night march, he's got to go.

The group issued a public list of demands on Tuesday, including Cole's resignation.

"It is unacceptable that a member of this fraternity, which has harassed and intimidated students and is under investigation, has a position in which he is supposed to represent the student body," the group wrote. The statement noted that Cole has made no efforts to meet or speak specifically with Take Back The Night marchers.

"The only student population Cole represents and advocates for are white men in fraternities, not the vulnerable student population that has been fighting for representation all semester," the group continued.

In a statement to The Huffington Post on Wednesday, Cole responded, "Yes, I am a proud member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and our Greek community, which has allowed me to dialogue within the Greek community about this serious issue and our plan for moving forward."

"I do plan on meeting with the Take Back the Night marchers and many other student groups so that different perspectives are heard as we move forward as one united SDSU community," Cole added. "This is a community issue and consensus from students is essential to implementing deep and meaningful change."

The university's InterFraternity Council indefinitely suspended all Greek social activities after marchers reported the taunts.

Cole himself sent a campuswide email announcing the decision to suspend and said that Greek leaders "will immediately take proactive steps toward addressing this extremely serious issue and the Greek community’s role in it."

But this was not enough for the Concerned Students group.

The group is also calling for the resignation of InterFraternity Council president Marc Hess for failing to respond to the incident in any way, such as by reaching out to Take Back The Night marchers.

"SDSU Student Affairs is investigating the alleged 'Take Back the Night' incident as a potential code of conduct and student organization policy violation," university spokeswoman Natalia Elko told HuffPost.

Take Back The Night marches have been held around the country since the 1970s. The marches aim to reduce sexual and domestic violence by raising awareness and creating safe spaces for survivors to tell their stories.

There have been 13 incidents of sexual violence reported on SDSU's campus this academic year, according to information that the university provided to HuffPost. Seven of those incidents took place at fraternities.

On Monday, Francisco Paiva Sousa, a student, was arrested for oral copulation with force and false imprisonment with force. His is the only arrest to have been made in these cases, university spokeswoman Beth Downing Chee confirmed to NBC 7 San Diego.

UPDATE, Dec. 12: The president of Sigma Phi Epsilon told The College Fix that the anti-rape protesters actually shouted obscenities at their house. He added that only one member of the fraternity came out and said something, and it was just yelling for the activists to go home.

HuffPost

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