FIJI allegations reveal cultural issues

Photo by Ally Stone

Phi Gamma Delta, often called FIJI, is currently facing two separate lawsuits from Georgia State University students claiming that members of the fraternity drugged and sexually assaulted them. One woman also alleges rape. Especially considering recent events such as the Phi Kappa Tau email, sexual assault is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately. The administration must take measures to change the culture at Tech and lower the chance of any other incidents.

The nature of the accusations against FIJI suggests at least grave negligence by the members of the fraternity. Sexual violence is facilitated by those who witness it and let it happen. The fact that people allegedly walked by a woman while fraternity members wrote vulgar sayings on her body is disturbing. The culture that discourages bystanders from acting and trivializes sexual assault needs to be fundamentally changed. Ultimately, for this change to be effective, it must come from the students, not from an administrator.

The allegations against FIJI are currently under investigation. In the interim, FIJI could be forced to have alcohol-free parties. It is important to refrain from taking permanent action against the fraternity since it is still under investigation. Making FIJI hold dry parties would not be entirely limiting, but it would certainly lower the chance of any further incidences at the fraternity. It is important to understand that sexual predators use alcohol as a weapon. Though the actions of a few may not be indicative of the entire fraternity’s character, this measure would send out a message to the fraternity and to campus that sexual assault is a serious issue.

Combating sexual violence includes discouraging a bystander mentality, promoting general caution and holding perpetrators responsible. The problem may take time to fix, but its resolution is critical.