Anonymous social media posts paint picture of sexual assault in Greek life


Daily file photo by Catherine Buchaniec

The Northwestern University arch. An “Abolish NU IFC/PHA Greek Life” Instagram account has published multiple allegations of sexual assault within Northwestern’s Greek life.

Catherine Buchaniec, Reporter

Northwestern’s anonymous confession pages on social media have historically provided students an outlet to declare their crushes, confessions and other lighthearted material. Over the past few months, new anonymous accounts on Twitter and Instagram have emerged, unveiling allegations of sexual assault on campus.

An “Abolish NU IFC/PHA Greek Life” Instagram account, created earlier this month, has accumulated a large following, with some posts receiving hundreds of likes. As of Monday night, the account had accumulated over 1,490 followers. The posts, which contain first-hand and second-hand anonymous narratives, have spurred debate among the University’s Greek community.

The Instagram account, which was created by a group of Northwestern students, aims to dismantle the NU’s Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, and is one of many similar accounts associated with universities across the country. Although the account’s posts are not limited to allegations of sexual assault associated with Greek life, many posts paint some of the University’s fraternities in a negative light when it comes to sexual violence.

“We are sickened by the way that Greek life under the Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council at Northwestern is constantly portrayed as ‘better’ than other schools,” wrote the owners of the account in a statement sent to The Daily. “Greek life at Northwestern perpetuates racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, complicity in sexual assault, and other forms of systemic oppression, just as it does at other universities.”

On Monday, the account published an anonymous allegation of sexual assault, related to the University’s Phi Delta Theta chapter.

In the post, a member of the class of 2022 said that they were sexually assaulted during fall 2019. Although the person said they were not a member of Greek life, they said they regularly attended Greek events. While at a fraternity bar night, the person said they became intoxicated.

“I woke up the next morning with hickeys all over me, naked,” the junior wrote. “I only knew where I was because the person I was with was one of my best friend’s pledge sons.”

Although the junior said they reported what had happened to another member of Phi Delt, the junior also said the fraternity has not pursued any repercussions for the accused member.

In a statement sent to The Daily, the Northwestern chapter of Phi Delt said they were previously unaware of any of the sexual assault allegations reported on the Instagram page.

“We are disturbed and saddened to hear of the events concerning our chapter that have been communicated anonymously on the AbolishNUGreekLife page,” wrote the fraternity in the statement to The Daily. “These truly horrifying events have come as a complete surprise to our Executive Board and chapter as a whole, indicating the broken system that we have taken a part of is beyond reformation or repair.”

The statement added that the entire Phi Delt chapter will be meeting Tuesday evening to have an open discussion regarding the future of Phi Delt and the chapter’s next steps.

The Monday post is one of many graphic accounts of sexual assault published on the Instagram page. According to the owners of the account, they have received over a hundred submissions and are not surprised by the number of posts that mentioned sexual assault. The page also includes sexual assault allegations against members in Northwestern chapters of Sigma Nu, Pi Kappa Alpha and Delta Tau Delta.

Jayden Logan, the president of the Interfraternity Council, said the council has reported every one of the allegations brought to their attention to the University, including those on social media.

“IFC is concerned about making campus a safe space for everyone, not just Greek life members,” Logan said. “We’re going to continue doing what we have in our position to make sure policies regarding sexual assault and sexual violence are provided and that members are properly informed on how to report allegations.”

IFC is prohibited by the University from conducting its own investigations or issuing its own sanctions against its member chapters, according to Logan.

“We don’t have the ability or authority to investigative or adjudicate allegations since we’re not a legal body,” Logan said. “The University has made that very clear in our past attempts to sanction or discipline chapters with allegations brought against them.”

The account’s owners said that although the number of submissions from alleged survivors of sexual assault is horrifying, it is not unprecedented, “considering the culture of rape apology and complicity permitted by Greek life.”

The statement added that the owners are glad they can provide the account as a safe platform for individuals to share their stories, especially because “Greek organizations and the Northwestern administration have failed to hold perpetrators accountable or prevent further instances of sexual assault.”

Zana Rashid, the vice president of public relations for PHA, declined to comment about the allegations made on the Instagram page.

A similar account on Twitter “nu predators” recounts anonymous narratives of sexual assault on campus, including within the Greek community. The account was established in May and has over 340 followers as of Monday night.

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Twitter: @caty_buchaniec

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