Those syrupy bastards in Vermont are at it again:
A survey that asked fraternity members at the University of Vermont about their preferred rape victim, allegedly circulated by members of Sigma Phi Epsilon, has resulted in the fraternity’s suspension and a visit from its national headquarters, according to university officials.
Wait, what? There must be some kind of misunderstanding. Surely there’s some sort of context to this:
The Sigma Phi Epsilon survey question was: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?”
Or not. Meanwhile, the Burlington Free Press took note of its own Woodward and Bernstein-esque stakeout:
Members of the Burlington fraternity, often called Sig Ep, would not comment. A woman inside the fraternity house was overheard several times telling members, “Don’t answer the door.” Members looked outside at a reporter but did not respond Tuesday night.
A reporter, eh? You mean you? I think you mean you. To its credit (but I mean, not that much credit really–this is a pretty easy call after all) the national Sig Ep organiztion has condemned the actions and ordered the Vermont chapter to shut down operations. Meanwhile, the UVM Sig Ep chapter’s website has (beyond a basic misunderstanding of the rules of capitalization) an explanation of what they look for in a member:
Our chapter does not necessarily look out for leaders, scholars, musicians, or athletes. Rather, we plan to help to mold our Brothers into these types of Balanced Men.
Now, what the hell is a Balanced Man, you might ask? Good question, and one whose answer begins at a college urinal, natch.
See, all over my dorm sophomore year, there were these sorts of posters:
The general idea, of course is that it’s one of those mind and body things. I figured, hey, I’m vaguely athletic, and fairly literate. I’m applying. I could win UP TO $500. I thought it might be good in the course of my application to make it seem like I was interested in joining up with Sig Ep. Obviously I was not 1) because frats aren’t really for me and 2) because if they were, I wouldn’t be interested in joining the worst one on campus (Sig Ep has no house, nothing really going for it besides an apparent willingness to take pretty much anyone).
Nevertheless, if I wanted to lock up my Balanced Man, it might be good during the interview process to feign interest in joining. Some combination of that fake interest and my application/interview landed me in the “finals”–I put the scare quotes on because there were probably 70 people in the finals–where a sandwich dinner was served and a speech was given by Doug Englebart, the inventor of the computer mouse.
This might seem cool, except that the sandwiches had tomato (I don’t really like tomato) and Doug Englebart was already in his mid-80s and clearly suffering from, if nothing else, severe short-term memory loss. He literally repeated one story about his days in World War II with shocking precision–and nobody stopped him or like, didn’t pretend like that had just happened. It was pretty weird.
So that’s what a Balanced Man is. Back to the story, apparently there is a petition going around, which among its arguments makes this point:
This egregious expression of rape culture is only the most recent example of systemic sexism at UVM. The past year alone has witnessed rape, multiple sexual assaults, and anti-abortion chalking in public spaces.
Uh, forgive me for being obtuse, but what exactly is the abortion connection here? Let’s not throw the b—-you know what, why don’t I just move on to my next point. The follow-up, probably unnecessarily thorough investigation being conducted by Sig Ep’s national organization:
Warren said one-on-one interviews with each of the 50 members at the fraternity house, at 371 Main St. in Burlington, were ongoing
They have the resources for this? They should be fighting crime instead of this. You could just ask one dude to show you his email, who sent it, go talk to that person, then find a few other impartial folks to either corroborate or refute his story. Done and done. I assume they’ll realize that soon enough.
“It is an ongoing investigation,” he said Wednesday night. Boggess and Warren said the national office would take as much time as needed to have a thorough investigation.
“I have no return flight,” Boggess said.
Or not. Happy hunting.