Police investigate report of rape at Emory frat house

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 4, 2014
Photo from the Emory University Police website.

Photo from the Emory University Police website.

Emory University police are investigating a report from a woman who said she was raped at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on Oct. 31.

A statement released by the University says that students have voted to suspend all social activities at fraternity houses until there’s a “comprehensive plan” to ensure student safety.

According to the statement, “The female victim reported to police that she was raped by a male student with whom she is acquainted, at 18 Eagle Row. The perpetrator is described as a white male, brunette, approximately 20 years of age, between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 9 inches in height, medium build. An police investigation is ongoing.”

People with information are asked to call Emory Police at 404-727-6111.

Ajay Nair, Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life said that, “Emory University works proactively to build a safe, inclusive community based on principles of mutual respect and social justice for all members. Sexual violence is not tolerated on our campus, and the university takes all complaints and accusations of sexual misconduct seriously.”

There have been a few high profile incidents at the university recently involving its fraternities. The university is also cooperating with an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education over its handling of sexual assault cases.

Someone spray-painted the Alpha Epsilon Pi  house with graffiti, including swastikas, on the morning of Oct. 5, a day after the end of Yom Kippur. Alpha Epsilon Pi is an historically Jewish fraternity. A few weeks later, other Emory students accused the same fraternity of racism for comments its members allegedly made during a flag football game.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Education named Emory as one of 55 schools around the country that the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating under Title IX for how it handles reports of sexual assault.

The website Rehabs.com released a report earlier this year showing that in 2012 Emory was No. 3 nationally in reported forcible sex offenses, behind Princeton and Brown universities.

In February, a student reported to police that she was raped in a wooded area between Dowman Drive and Oxford Road near the Emory Village Traffic Circle. The victim did not know the attacker in that incident and police have made no arrests.

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About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • DecaturGuy

    In the interest of unbiased reporting, could you use the word “alleged”? Accusation and fact are not synonymous.

    • I agree, but I don’t think the story confuses the two. It’s clear that this has been reported and the university is investigating it.

      • DecaturGuy

        Perhaps, but many people never read beyond the headline. This isn’t print and there’s nigh zero cost to you making the headline accurate. It would actually take less time than it took to reply to my comment.

        • I disagree that there’s not a cost involved in changing a headline. We pay to host our content and for our domain, obviously, and it means I have to stop whatever else I’m doing in order to make the changes.

          The reason I’m discussing this is because I think these are conversations what are worth having.

          As to your point, I changed the headline. Instead of the word “alleged” I used the word “report.” This wasn’t an arbitrary decision on my part. The reason I was uncomfortable putting “alleged” in the headline is it made it sound as if we doubted the claim right off the bat. I think that sends the wrong message, too. We want to be accurate. We also want to be fair.

          As a society, we are beginning to have some very important discussions about sexual assaults and whether our public institutions – the police, the media, the courts – discourage women from reporting them. I have no idea what happened in this case. But I do know that Emory has an issue with on-campus sexual assaults, hence the DOE investigation. I can’t ignore that in the context of my reporting, any more than I can ignore the wider discussion about this topic.

          So I hope my headline change threads the needle for being accurate without being dismissive. I appreciate you calling it to my attention and think you’ve raised some fair points. I think it’s important to remind readers that we don’t make these decisions carelessly. I think the earlier headline was fine, but if changing it makes the story better, that’s OK with me, too. Thanks for your input.

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