Economy

Indiana University Fraternity Shut Down For Apparent Sexual Assault, Hazing

October 8th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

UPDATE: Indiana University's Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) fraternity has been shut down after a video surfaced of an apparent sexual assault hazing ritual at the house. 

The 29-second video, which leaked on Twitter late Wednesday night, reveals a crowd of shirtless men shouting as one guy apparently is forced to perform oral sex on a woman while another naked female kicks and slaps him.

Prior to the fraternity's shutdown on Thursday, the university released a statement Wednesday night saying the fraternity had been suspended:

"The allegations, of which there appears to be credible video evidence, include a purported new chapter member being encouraged to perform a sex act on a female in the presence of several other chapter members," a university statement read. "Indiana University takes its responsibility to foster a culture of care and respect among the students on its campuses extremely seriously."

The school added that the allegations, if true, would "represent violations of the university's student code of conduct and will not be tolerated."

ATO National CEO Wynn Smiley told FOX 59 that the video "speaks for itself" and that this chapter does not in any way reflect the fraternity at large.

"The video is highly offensive and is antithetical to the values of Alpha Tau Omega," he said. "If confirmed, swift disciplinary action will be taken. The men who were a part of such a vulgar incident do not represent the fraternity and damage the fraternity’s name for thousands of ATO undergraduates and alumni across the country."

The university website for Alpha Tau Omega appears to be down as well. According to an Indiana University pamphlet, nearly 20 percent of undergraduates participate in Greek life.

Here are some reactions to the apparent hazing ritual:

This comes right after University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel delivered a bleak outlook for Greek life at his institution and indicated that the system at large could be in danger if more fraternities and sororities keep making news for bad behavior. The University of Michigan's Greek community was subjected to much criticism earlier this year when several university sororities and fraternities wrecked two ski resorts and reportedly caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

"It's not my ambition to get rid of fraternities and sororities," Schlissel told reporters after speaking to the Detroit Economic Club on Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"There's a tremendous amount of positive they bring to our campus," he continued. "[But unless] the students moderate some of the risky behavior ... they may naturally wither and people may want to stop joining them."