The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Vermont made national headlines in December when its survey question about rape went public. Administrators promised a thorough investigation but few thought it would last this long. Exams end Friday at UVM, so the investigation continues into summer and some are wondering just what's taking so long.
The story made national headlines and within days Sig Ep's national offices sent frat brothers packing and shut down their chapter. In December UVM's Associate Vice President, Annie Stevens supported the move and promised an investigation of her own, "We believe we still have more information to find out for our own processes and holding the appropriate organization or individuals accountable," she said
But five months after the incident there are more questions than answers, like who was behind the hate-filled survey, how will they be held accountable, and what's taking the University so long to figure it out.
Juliet Critsimilios was outraged by the survey and organized this year's Take Back the Night Rally to highlight the problem of sexual violence on campus, "It's hard to feel like you're fighting a battle you know you're screaming and no one's really listening," she said
The senior says University officials have failed in their responsibility to handle the investigation in a timely manner and to use the opportunity to educate everyone on campus. "I was really disappointed that they just disbanded the frat entirely and they were just like okay this problem is gone now were just kind of going to wash our hands of it and have not really talked to the community about it and talk about how these ideas affect students," says Critsimilios.
In a statement to WCAX Associate Vice President Stevens says "While the investigation may not have happened as quickly as some would like, our goal from the beginning has been to be as fair and painstakingly thorough as possible."
Stevens goes on to say that the University has steps it can take to hold graduating seniors accountable, "…from keeping a student conduct record on file, which would impact law, medical, and graduate school applications and, potentially, employment, to revoking a graduate's degree."
UVM says four university departments are involved in the investigation and that they will work together on it over the summer but would not comment on what they've learned or what's left to do.
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