Female students in the US welcomed to college by sexist, demeaning frat posters

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Tuesday 25 August 2015 16:20
news
Picture: Facebook

The troubling sexist culture at US colleges has reared its ugly head again this week with all activities at a fraternity in Virginia being suspended over a series of lewd posters.

Female students and their parents arriving for the new year at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk were "welcomed" by sexually suggestive posters draped from the off-campus building of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

"Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time," one read, while another read "freshman daughter drop off" with an arrow pointing to the fraternity house front door and a third boasting "go ahead and drop off mom too".

Images of the posters appeared briefly on Facebook before being taken down. However, they spread quickly and sparked outrage after the Huffington Post managed to capture a screengrab.

ODU president John R Broderick subsequently shared a letter to parents on the university's Facebook page on Sunday in which he said he was "outraged about the offensive message directed toward women" and explained that the university has a "zero tolerance" policy on sexual assault and sexual harassment:

While we constantly educate students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and sexual harassment, this incident confirms our collective efforts are still failing to register with some...

This incident will be reviewed immediately by those on campus empowered to do so. Any student found to have violated the code of conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.

Brad Beacham, the executive director of the Sigma Nu fraternity, which has 163 branches across the US, also explained in a statement on Monday that all activities at its ODU chapter had been suspended and that anyone found guilty of the "reprehensible display" would be held accountable:

The Fraternity condemns the derogatory and demeaning language used on the banners. Such language has no place in our Fraternity or within any caring community, such as that of ODU.

Earlier this year, the US department of education launched an investigation into how 106 universities and colleges in the US responded to sexual assault complaints, although ODU was not one of them.

A separate, albeit small, study found that 31.7 per cent of male students would act on "intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse" if there were no repercussions for them.

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