Three Stony Brook University fraternities have been suspended after reports of sexual assault and hazing surfaced on social media.
Kappa Sigma, Sigma Beta Rho and Tau Kappa Epsilon were suspended in late June after reports of Title IX violations and hazing were filed with SBU’s Department of Student Engagement and Activities, which oversees fraternities and sororities.
“As a result of these reports, the university put the social fraternities identified in the reports … on interim suspension last week,” SBU said in a statement. “This is consistent with our process, as sexual assault and hazing have no place on college campuses or in our society.”
The ongoing investigations into the fraternities are being overseen by the university’s Office of Equity and Access, which handles Title IX matters, and the Office of University Community Standards, which handles Code of Student Responsibility violations. Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act states that men and women must receive equal treatment and opportunities within education programs.
Two of the fraternities’ national chapters addressed the recent news.
Tau Kappa Epsilon and the Rho-Eta [Stony Brook] chapter is fully cooperating with the university on their investigation,” said Alex Baker, chief information officer for the national chapter, in an email statement. “TKE strongly condemns sexual assault and will hold any responsible members accountable for their actions.”
Phi Nguyen, executive director of Sigma Beta Rho, said in an email that the fraternity “is not currently aware of any Title IX investigation involving Sigma Beta Rho fraternity at Stony Brook University. We are currently cooperating with Stony Brook University’s investigation into our new member practices.”
“Regarding online allegations of sexual misconduct, Sigma Beta Rho condemns sexual misconduct in all forms,” Nguyen added. “Sigma Beta Rho is committed to investigating allegations of misconduct against our members and taking appropriate disciplinary action.”
A spokesperson for the Kappa Sigma national fraternity did not respond for comment.
The allegations against the three fraternities and subsequent suspensions came after an Instagram account, @voicesofsb, was created to share stories of sexual assault from students at the university.
In a June 23 post, the account said its goal was to “give sexual assault survivors an anonymous platform to let their voices be heard.” Individuals are able to submit their stories to the account by filling out a Google form.
At least two other similar Instagram accounts were created elsewhere: @shareyourstorybing, and @shareyourstorygeneso. Those accounts have shared anonymous stories of sexual assault and harassment at SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Geneseo.
SBU said in a June 25 Instagram post that it “is committed to the prevention of sexual assault and violence.” The statement was met with backlash. There were over 200 commenters on the post, many criticizing the post as being “performative,” according to The Statesman, and calling on the university to do better and take cases seriously.
SBU students can report incidents to the Title IX office and its coordinator Marjolie Leonard, at [email protected]. Individuals can also contact Samantha August, the survivor advocate and prevention specialist for the school, at 631-457-9981.