UMass addresses Theta Chi protests in email to the UMass community

“At this point, no survivor or witness has come forward to file a complaint or a report substantiating the claims that have been made on various social media platforms,” the statement reads.

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Ana Pietrewicz, Editor-in-Chief

In an email to the University of Massachusetts student body, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy addressed the protests that took place outside of the Theta Chi fraternity house yesterday afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, crowds of demonstrators gathered outside the on-campus Theta Chi house to protest allegations of sexual assault perpetrated by fraternity brothers. In the statement, Subbaswamy said the University cannot take action against the alleged perpetrators of assault at this time.

“At this point, no survivor or witness has come forward to file a complaint or a report substantiating the claims that have been made on various social media platforms,” the statement reads. “While we respect and support a survivor’s decision whether or not to report an assault or pursue sanctions, we cannot take action against alleged perpetrators, whether they be individuals or organizations, without actionable evidence.”

The protests resulted in property damage at the fraternity house, including broken windows and damaged cars. Subbaswamy condemned the protestors responsible for the damage. 

“Allegations of this kind and the impassioned response of our community remind us of the work we must do to change the culture here on campus and in society more broadly,” the statement says. “The violence exhibited yesterday by some in the crowd, however, is not the answer. Those who were responsible for the violence and damage to property will be charged per applicable laws and the Student Code of Conduct. We owe it to survivors and to every member of our community to work together to channel our emotions in a productive way to ensure a safe and secure environment for all.”

The chancellor encouraged students who have been victims of assault to come forward to file a report with UMass’ Equal Opportunity Office. 

“We strongly encourage anyone with direct knowledge of or information related to the alleged Theta Chi incident, or any incident of sexual assault or misconduct, to contact university authorities immediately,” Subbaswamy said in the statement. 

A Change.org petition calling for UMass to disband the fraternity has garnered over 16,000 signatures as of Monday evening.

Ana Pietrewicz can be reached at [email protected].