End the Toleration of Sexual Violence at Purdue University
End the Toleration of Sexual Violence at Purdue University
To whom it may concern,
In order to see change within the culture at Purdue University, we are demanding 5 changes that need to be made effective immediately. These changes are listed below:
- A Zero Tolerance Sexual Violence Policy Established and Upheld
- An Issued Apology and Recant of Victim Blaming Statements
- An Amnesty Policy for Reporting Sexual Violence (i.e someone is underage drinking and witnesses sexual violence)
- Revisitation and Revisions to the Current BYOB System
- The Immediate Termination of Brandon Cutler from his Position with FSCL
Below we have gone into detail about this issue and what we expect to see in regards to these changes.
In the past few weeks at Purdue University, there has been an increase of sexual assaults reported here on campus. The majority of these sexual assaults that were reported occurred at fraternity organizations here on campus. Despite the increase of reports, Purdue University as well as the Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life organization have failed to take action in order to support sexual violence survivors here on campus. They continue to sweep the situations under the rug in order to protect themselves as well as the assailants instead of protecting the survivors.
In light of these events as well as the response to these events, we are extremely disturbed and outraged. We see that there needs to be a major change in order to end rape culture and to create a safer community for students here at Purdue University. In order to see this change within our community, we believe that the following items need to be put in place:
- A zero tolerance sexual violence policy established and upheld.
Sexual violence is an extremely serious matter and deserves to be dealt with accordingly. Currently we have set a standard within our community that in the event that a sexual violence survivor reports an assault, they will be heavily questioned, blamed, and bribed not to share their story. Assailants do not receive the same treatment. In many cases, fraternity brothers are defending each other and covering for each other in the event that a fraternity brother chooses to sexually violate, harass, or assault someone else. Not only is this traumatic for the victim, it also scares other sexual violence survivors into not reporting their own assaults due to the fear that they may be treated in this same manner. In order to make sure that assailants within fraternities are being held accountable, we are demanding for a zero tolerance policy. This policy would state that in the event that a fraternity brother is accused of sexual violence, they will be immediately suspended from the chapter and put on trial to face the potential consequence of being removed effective immediately from the fraternity. The survivors of the sexual assault should be actively listened to and their testimony should be actively considered throughout the discerning of whether or not the assailant will be permanently removed from the chapter. Any fraternity’s attempt to silence the victim should result in the fraternity facing the potential consequence of being removed from campus. Along with that, any brother that is found to have knowledge of an act of sexual violence that occurred within the chapter facility or by a chapter member will immediately again, face the same consequences in the event that they try to cover it up or deliberately withhold information regarding an assault. We want this policy to be enforced within all Greek organizations but specifically fraternity organizations. A fraternity that is found to be in violation of following this policy should immediately be removed from campus. This policy would help to ensure that fraternity men are being held accountable, as well as holding others accountable, for sexual violence. We also believe a similar policy needs to be withheld regarding any matter involving sexual violence here on campus. It is important that our campus community knows that sexual violence will not be tolerated by any means.
- An issued apology and recant of victim blaming statements made.
After the first reported assault within Purdue Greek Life, Brandon Cutler (the head of FSCL) was cited telling representatives within each Greek House that if houses would have just followed the BYOB policies, then the assaults would not have happened. Also in a meeting with SARMA advisors, a representative from FSCL told everyone in attendance at the meeting that men can’t tell the difference between right and wrong after a few drinks as well as emphasizing the fact that they want to keep these recent events quiet. Brandon Cutler and FSCL’s statements reinforces the idea that alcohol is the problem within this situation when in reality the problem is those who choose to commit acts of sexual violence. These statements are extremely harmful and traumatizing, especially for those who have experienced sexual violence. Regardless of the message Brandon Cutler and FSCL meant to send, the message that they did send was inherently hurtful as it blamed the victims in these sexual assault situations and it promotes toxic behavior. With that being said, it is only appropriate and reasonable that Brandon Cutler and FSCL should issue an immediate apology and should recant their statements. Their eerie silence in response to being held accountable for their words have shown us that they show no remorse or regret for their comments. If they want to show the community that they really do care about sexual violence victims, an apology needs to be administered immediately. We also feel that we deserve an apology from the university. We feel like these situations were not adequately addressed or handled. Our students here at Purdue deserve to feel safe and comfortable, no matter what they or doing or what organization they are a part of.
- An amnesty policy for reporting sexual violence.
In many cases of sexual violence, those who are aware of the assault do not contact authorities or speak up about the assault because they fear being prosecuted for the fact that they were participating in underage drinking, taking illegal drugs, or breaking the BYOB rules at the time of the assault. Because they are discouraged of reporting or speaking up due to their fear of being prosecuted, many survivors of sexual violence do not receive the support or resources they need. We are proposing that an amnesty policy should be established and upheld here at Purdue University. This amnesty policy would work similarly to the amnesty policy that is put in place in regards to alcohol related emergencies. This amnesty policy would state that if an assault were to take place and someone were to report the assault to the authorities, they would not get in trouble if they were to be to underage drinking, taking illegal drugs, or breaking the BYOB policy at the time that the assault took place. This policy would ensure that sorority, fraternity members, or anyone involved in the situation would not avoid contacting authorities due to the fact that they fear putting themselves or peers at risk for getting in trouble.
- Revisitation and Revisions to the current BYOB system
Currently the BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage) system put into place states that people in attendance at fraternity functions are unable to bring their own drinks until they are the legal age of 21. Along with that, fraternities are unable to serve alcohol to guests. Because of the fact that guests who are under age are not allowed to bring alcohol and are not allowed to be served alcohol, this encourages guests to excessively binge drink before the function because guests want to ensure themselves that they will be able to feel the effects of alcohol throughout the course of the function. Because they know they will not have an opportunity to drink at the function, they drink as much as they can beforehand, leading to an increased chance of alcohol related incidents such as blacking out or alcohol poisoning. Along with that, this policy often puts women in difficult situations where a fraternity brother may be offering to serve alcohol to guests but they have to go to the brother’s room in order to drink it. Fraternity brothers who have ill intentions to sexually assault may use this as an opportunity to take advantage of women by inviting them up to their rooms to drink. Along with the current BYOB policies, FSCL and IFC have worked to put together a set of new rules to go along with this policy in light of the recent events. These rules include banning red solo cups from functions and banning four way functions. These rules are enforcing the idea that alcohol is the problem instead of the assailant. The perfect example of this idea is the fact that they have now put a rule into action that allows women to bring their drinks into the bathroom, but they are keeping a sober monitor in the restroom to ensure that none of the women are binge drinking. It is obvious that the concern is not to keep women safe but instead to control their drinking. These new updates to the policy continue to push the narrative that women under the influence of alcohol are responsible for their assaults when in reality the assailants are. We need to start holding assailants accountable for assaulting, regardless of whether or not alcohol is involved.
- The immediate termination of Brandon Cutler from his position with FSCL.
In the midst of the recent events that have occurred within the Greek Life community, Brandon Cutler has continued to make comments that are absolutely atrocious. He began by saying that if people would just follow the BYOB policies, then these assaults wouldn’t have happened. He then spoke at the mandatory meeting for New Members of the FSCL community where he began the meeting saying that Sigma Chi, a fraternity that has recently had a sexual assault allegation, has paved the way for other organizations in the community by leading with courage and bravery. Many individuals in attendance at the meeting also reported that Cutler joked about the fact that people were calling for him to be terminated from his position. The fact that Brandon Cutler started this meeting supporting a fraternity with a sexual assault allegation instead of offering support for the recent victims of allegations that have occurred within the community he leads is extremely upsetting and disturbing. The fact that he joked about our demand for his termination also just shows that Brandon Cutler looks at this movement and the survivors of this movement as a joke instead of something incredibly serious. Through his words and lack of action, Brandon Cutler has shown us time and time again that he has failed the FSCL community and we will not stand for it any longer. We demand the immediate termination of Brandon Cutler as he continues to cultivate rape culture here at Purdue University time and time again with no regret.
We feel that in order to see effective change in the culture of the Greek Life and campus community, these are the changes that need to be made effective immediately. To fight for these changes, please sign this petition to show your support of our initiatives as well as to support sexual violence survivors here at Purdue University. We will not stop until our demands for change are met with satisfaction. We will not be silenced any longer.