For decades, the dangers of fraternities have been overlooked by the media, however, one recent incident at the University of Nebraska has gained national attention. The school’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, commonly referred to as “Fiji,” has had several encounters with the local police and university officials in the past. The frat has been berated for excessive drug and alcohol abuse, public hazing of minorities and LGBTQ+ people, inappropriate sexual behavior, and was even suspended in 2017. Despite concerns expressed by the university’s students, Fiji was given authority to resume activities in 2020.
However, in late August, one girl, and a minor at that, accused a frat member of raping her on the eve of the first day of classes, which, according to the New York Post, has been the 103rd rape charge against the frat since 2005. CBS News quoted the college police’s daily crime logs saying the event occurred at four in the morning between a 19-year-old male and a 17-year-old female while officers were investigating reports of a “wild party” at Fiji’s off-campus housing. While the girl’s identity has not been released, she continues to press charges against her assaulter.
Locals wonder how the university could have allowed the frat to reopen in the first place. After 103 rape accusations, the warning signs were clear. In response to this incident, Fiji has once again been suspended indefinitely, but for protestors, that isn’t nearly enough. For days after the incident occurred, thousands of protestors marched along UNL’s campus and in front of the Fiji house. They carried signs with harsh slogans such as “Kill All Rapists,” “There Is No Justice In Fiji,” If U Didn’t Stop It, U R Guilty 2,” and “Even My Dog Understands When I Say No.” The movement, which was brought to another chapter of Phi Gamma Delta in Iowa, has acquired the name “Fuck Fiji.”
Social media has also added fuel to the fire. The user @shutdownfiji on Instagram has gained over 30,000 followers in the last two months, and nearly 500,000 have signed their petition to close Phi Gamma Delta permanently. Across the country, people are reevaluating local schools and scrutinizing college offices for failing to hold assaulters accountable. One article in the Guardian notes that frat brothers are 300% more likely to attempt rape than the average college student, yet fraternities as a whole are still given free rein. With these kinds of statistics out in the open and assault victims banging on university doors, it’s time to ask the question, “When and where will the violence stop?”
McConnell, Nick. “Fourth Night of FIJI Protests Turns Focus to Downtown LPD Tasing Incident after Video Surfaces.” The Daily Nebraskan, http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/campus/fourth-night-of-fiji-protests-turns-focus-to-downtown-lpd-tasing-incident-after-video-surfaces/article_cd090678-07bf-11ec-b97d-7bae8fba355e.html. Accessed 21 Sept. 2021.
Valenti, Jessica. “Frat Brothers Rape 300% More. One in 5 Women Is Sexually Assaulted on Campus. Should We Ban Frats?” The Guardian, 24 Sept. 2014. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/24/rape-sexual-assault-ban-frats.University of Nebraska Fraternity with History of Sexual Harassment Suspended over Alleged Rape of Teen. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/phi-gamma-delta-fraternity-fiji-university-nebraska-suspended-rape-minor-alleged/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2021.