Monday night thousands of University of Kansas students gathered outside of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house to protest an alleged sexual assault that occurred at the house over the weekend.
Chants such as ‘f*** Phi Psi,’ ‘we believe her’ and ‘justice now’ erupted outside of the fraternity house. The protest began at around 8:30 p.m. and lasted until around 11:00 p.m.
“I immediately believed her,” Emilee Girard, a junior majoring in psychology from St. Louis said. “[The University] needs to ban Phi Psi for the safety of the students. As a woman, I should feel safe to walk alone by myself on campus.”
While the protest was focused on Phi Kappa Psi, some protestors pointed to Greek life and rape culture as systemic issues that allowed this to occur.
“While Phi Psi is currently the one being blamed, every single fraternity here is guilty,” said Abigayle Redeker, a junior majoring in accounting and management and leadership. “Until rape culture is demolished, it’s going to continue happening here.”
Members of other fraternities protested in support of the victim. Alvin Le and the majority of his brothers at Alpha Sigma Phi carpooled to the protest together to bring as many people as possible.
“It’s really encouraging to see the whole fraternity come together in support,” Le said. “The actions of Phi Kappa Psi ruin the image of Greek life.”
Alpha Sigma Phi’s president Zach Fehsel emphasized how important it is to hold chapters accountable for their actions.
“One chapter reflects on everyone,” Fehsel said. “I make sure that all active brothers know if anything similar happens at Alpha Sigma Phi, they would be held accountable. We have to provide the proper support for women on campus.”
Phi Kappa Psi’s national chapter released a statement about the event, stating KU officials were immediately notified and the chapter would cooperate with law enforcement.
“On Sunday, September 12, Phi Kappa Psi became aware of allegations against a new undergraduate member based on alleged events that took place at the chapter house on the night of September 11,” the statement said.
A KU spokesperson referred the Kansan to the Phi Kappa Psi statement, but also encouraged victims to contact law enforcement or the university’s office of civil rights or Title IX.
“The University takes seriously all allegations of sexual violence and has robust processes to investigate such allegations,” said KU Director for News and Media Relations Erin Barcomb-Peterson.
Jacob Roberts, a former member of Greek Life and a junior majoring in political science from Prairie Village said accountability should be the number one priority in this situation.
“I was involved in an e-board situation where someone was kicked out [due to sexual assault],” Roberts said. “These situations get handled in a way that no one ever hears about them again. It’s a messed up system. Accountability needs to be fostered on this campus.”
The protest at KU comes after a series of protests at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln regarding a sexual assault allegation at Phi Gamma Delta. After the fraternity was kicked off UNL campus, protestors are demanding KU officials follow suit with Phi Kappa Psi.
Police at the scene declined to comment. The Kansan also reached out to the Lawrence Police Department after being directed to their office by the KU Public Office of Safety, but has yet to get a response.