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The fallout continues from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Homecoming Party that took place on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in October of 2016, where it is alleged female students were drugged and sexually assaulted.

Now, USM’s student-run newspaper, the Student Printz, is reporting that students in the Greek life program are being contacted and asked to take down posts about the incident by persons involved in Greek Life.

“We’ve been silenced, essentially,” the Printz quoted one student as saying. “People have been trying to post about it on social media, and The Office of Greek Life has contacted people saying, ‘We strongly suggest that you take this down, as there may be disciplinary actions if you don’t.’ Women are scared that they may receive a fine or be kicked out of Greek life.”

A source confirmed to Deep South Daily that the messages existence, but that they were sent “indirectly from Greek Life” – not directly from the Office of Greek Life itself.

The student quoted in the report alleged that women were held against their will at the party, and that multiple women experienced symptoms akin to those of date rape drugs. While some went to the hospital, she said, others did not.

“Some women who were admitted to the hospital were too scared to file police reports, so the number of police reports is the smallest statistic you have, and then you have the amount of women who were admitted to the hospital,” the anonymous student told the Printz. “Then you have the amount of women who never really told anyone official.”

A earlier investigation into the SAE case resulted in the expulsion of five members and the assignment of sanctions to 25 members.

In a biting editorial Monday, the Student Printz editorial board made it clear that they believe the student’s claims, writing:

The March 27 edition of the Student Printz was not subtle in its criticism of the university’s administration.

“Victims on the Hattiesburg campus continue to feel the words and actions of their rapists. The University of Southern Mississippi’s Greek Life system has attempted to silence these victims by allegedly threatening them with fines or disciplinary actions if they do not remove related statements from social media. Let us presume this is to preserve Greek Life’s public image that has already been tarnished by all manner of toxic behavior. The Office would be met with less backlash if it admitted sexual assault is a danger students face on college campuses.

“One interviewee recently pointed out that our university had more to do and say about the famed fraternity-related flamingo death in 2014. Officials hit the kid with a felony charge. What results have we seen from the SAE rape case? The fraternity was suspended from participating in Greek Life events, but they remained on campus and no arrests were made, a proverbial slap on the wrist for the assailants.”

The University responded, noting that they could not reveal details of the alleged assaults, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Thomas H. Burke, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vice Provost, wrote that the University had taken extensive steps to investigate and address the situation. But according to him, no drugs were ever found other than alcohol.

“As previously stated, the investigation of the chapter and any individuals affected during the incident did not produce medical evidence of other substances besides alcohol, nor did UPD find evidence of other substances in a subsequent search of the SAE house,” Burke wrote. “The individual who reported the incident did not press criminal charges, and the investigation did not produce evidence that resulted in any arrests.”

“Even though we cannot control the actions of individuals, the University is committed to doing all that we can to prevent this type of incident in the future,” Burke added.

The Student Printz published a redacted copy a police report relating to the alleged assault on Sunday.

 

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