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USC Students Protest Against Fraternity Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault

NORTHRIDGE, CA- USC is under fire after six separate sexual violence reports were filed. It’s alleged that students were drugged and sexually assaulted while attending parties at Sigma Nu fraternity within the last month. Many USC students marched in solidarity with the victims who came forward.

USC junior Bianca Ventola attaches a sign to the Sigma Nu fraternity house near the USC campus. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Reports were filed against USC's fraternity chapter, Sigma Nu, alleging drugging and sexual assaults. On Friday, USC's 'Department of Public Safety' alerted staff and students about the incident. USC President Carol Folt provided students with resources but no action towards the fraternity.

USC student Catherine Ames says sympathy does not equate to action. Ames believes Folt should have provided more than resources to the victims. Hundreds of students protested, calling for more accountability.

"We really want to call for some reform within our school and within the fraternal communities. The racism, the misogyny, and the sexism that has built upon these frats, we need to get that out. The institution [USC] has a record of continuously sweeping their scandals under the rug," said Anna Olivia Schwedt, a freshman at USC.

"And there was very little accountability on Greek life as an institution that supports violence against women and violence against people in general," chimed in Ames.

USC said Thursday that it placed Sigma Nu on suspension, preventing the fraternity from organizing or hosting any events. This came a day after six students filed reports to the USC's DPS. The reports allege that six students claimed to have been drugged then sexually assaulted.

Friday, the Los Angeles Police Department identified Sigma Nu's President Ryan Schifflea as a suspect in the case. It is unclear if Schiffilea is the student who Folt claimed was placed on suspension. Still, students feel that the administration has not done enough by withholding the identity of the accused. Outraged protesters took to the streets to demand that USC take stronger action on the sensitive issue.

Sydney Brown, organizer of the event and President of the Trojan Democrats at USC, feels unsafe knowing that the school was not proactive towards the issue. "Personally, I am a victim of sexual assault. I know many women who are as well. It's an issue that I'm hugely passionate about, and when I see it happening in my school, that's something that's scary, that's something that's concerning," said Brown.

With a long road ahead to justice, students hope that with a peaceful protest, Greek life will be abolished for good, creating a healthier and safer college experience for future students.

Video credit: CBS Los Angeles

Video credit: Katherine Hernandez

By Katherine Hernandez

Contributions by

Photo Courtesy of Al Seib/Los Angeles Times

Video, Katherine Hernandez




Center for Changing our Campus Culture

University of Southern California

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