Students protest sexual assault

By Elizabeth Hill

Arizona Daily Wildcat

More than 50 male and female students did not let nearby echoes of Nirvana's "Rape Me" deter them from participating in an anti-rape candlelight vigil outside Delta Chi last night, acknowledging the house has received repeated accusations of sexual assault.

"We support innocent victims and the presumption of innocence," reads a poster on an outside wall of the Delta Chi fraternity house, 1701 E. First St. No one at the house was visible from the street, and the lights were off.

Alexa Stanard, the student co-director of the Women's Resource Center said, "We're highlighting them because they are repeat offenders. I realize it hasn't been proven, but they have been put on probation twice for sexual assault. The administration has remained so silent about this."

The point of the demonstration was mainly symbolic, Stanard said.

"We want the university to inform the students of particular rape statistics, not be hushed up about them," said fellow co-director Felicia Parker.

"The punitive action taken does not suffice," Stanard said.

The Dean of Students Office announced last Wednesday that the UA chapter of the Delta Chi fraternity would no longer be recognized as an official student organization because of student conduct and risk management violations. The fraternity will not be eligible to apply for recognition for the next five years.

The decision did not involve the allegation of sexual assault. The investigation for the alleged assault is still being conducted, so it could not be used as a factor in the decision, said Jennifer Jones, Greek Life Coordinator.

The UA Police Department is still investigating a UA student's claim that she was sexually assaulted Nov. 1 at the Delta Chi house.

The alleged incident occurred after a party which Delta Chi was sponsoring along with five other Greek houses on campus. The party, held at the Beta Theta Pi house, 645 E. University Blvd., was broken up by UA police about 11:30 p.m. after a neighbor complained about noise.

This follows a 1991 report in which a female student said she was raped at the Delta Chi house by a fraternity member she had known for two weeks, after he invited the woman up to his room to sleep because she looked tired.

"This is no longer considered a 'house.' It is considered a group of individuals," said UA police chief Harry Hueston.

Visible public forums can be a method of advocacy, said Beth Carey, Tucson Rape Crisis Center executive director.

"Victims can't always speak for themselves, so

people who show up for a rally can do that," she said.

People arrived at 7 p.m. with candles. They stood across the street "so they could see us," Stanard said.

The Pima County/Tucson Women's Commission was holding a sign reading "To assist women in attaining full equality of opportunity in all aspects of life."

Dan Maxwell, Interim Director of Student Programs; Carol Thompson, Associate Dean of Students; and Hueston looked on.

Maxwell said it was "to make sure that everybody's rights are protected."

The residents of the house across the street from Delta Chi were not happy about it, however. They began to play music very loudly, including the Nirvana song "Rape Me."

The seven or eight people at this house refused to comment for the record at the event. One person later said the group supports the vigil's intent, but thought it would be more appropriate on the Mall.

The members of Delta Chi were officially notified on Nov. 8 that the university has withdrawn their recognition of the fraternity house because of repeated warnings regarding alcohol abuse.

But the measures did not please the protesters because it did not deal with what they see as the real issue. "The university hasn't recognized what happened, they said alcohol related offenses when we all know that isn't what happened," said Samantha Christy, graphic design junior.

Although the Women's Resource Center is not sponsoring the vigil, it does support it, Stanard said. The event was organized completely by students on campus, she said.

Wildcat reporter Joseph Barrios contributed to the reporting of this story.

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