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‘Tonight’s the type of night that makes fathers afraid to send their daughters away’: Fraternity suspended for email

The Kappa Alpha house on the campus of the University of Richmond is shown on Sept. 13. The fraternity at the school has been suspended over an offensive email, and it will be investigated by the university and national fraternity officials. (Steve Helber/AP)

A fraternity at the University of Richmond has been suspended after an email with what university officials termed “grossly offensive language” was sent to about 100 students on campus.

The Kappa Alpha chapter will be investigated by both the university and national fraternity officials. It is the latest fraternity to come under scrutiny at a time when universities across the country are working to improve campus safety, avoid offending students, and prevent sexual misconduct.

The University of Richmond in Virginia has been embroiled in debate about campus sexual assault after two women wrote public accounts this month of their frustrations with the way the administration handled their complaints.

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The Collegian, a campus newspaper, printed a copy of an email sent shortly before 1 p.m. Friday about a party that night. Asked whether she could confirm it is an accurate copy of the email in question, university spokeswoman Cynthia Price responded that “an investigation is pending.”

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The email reminds recipients of the theme for the night — “ameriKA” — suggests dressing in red, white and blue “(or be naked for all I care. … This is gonna be one for the books,” the Collegian quotes the email as saying. ” … we’re looking forward to watching that lodge virginity be gobbled up for all ya’ll. See you boys tonight.

“If you haven’t started drinking already, catch up. Tonight’s the type of night that makes fathers afraid to send their daughters away to school. Let’s get it.”

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The university issued a statement Monday:

We learned this morning of an email from two members of the Kappa Alpha National Fraternity that was sent to about 100 students on campus. The email contained grossly offensive language and suggestions of behavior inconsistent with our policies concerning Greek life and with the caring nature of our campus community. As a result, the university has suspended all chapter operations, activities and events pending a thorough investigation. We have also contacted the national Kappa Alpha headquarters, which promptly suspended the chapter while it conducts its own membership review and investigation.
University administration will be meeting with Greek leadership to discuss the suspension and to reiterate our expectations for Greek Life, which include standards of behavior, sustaining a respectful and safe campus climate, and the core values of service, leadership, scholarship and fellowship.

The president of the student government association did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Jesse Lyons, assistant executive director for advancement at the national headquarters of Kappa Alpha Order, responded to questions with a statement:

“Gentlemanly conduct is at the core of Kappa Alpha Order’s values. Due to actions contrary to those values and our Risk Management Policy, the chapter operations have been temporarily suspended at the University of Richmond pending the outcome of an in-depth, individual review and chapter investigation. The National Administrative Office is working in conjunction with the University of Richmond administration and chapter leadership.”

After meeting with Greek leaders on campus, the school’s Interfraternity Council announced that it would cancel all lodge events this weekend. (The lodges are nonresidential centers for fraternities.) In a statement released through the university, the council said, “Although great strides have been made regarding risk protocols and subsequent educational programming, the Council has decided to take a step back in order to reevaluate and assess current community practices.

“Furthermore, we would like to reiterate our firm stance against sexual violence and perpetuations of toxic masculinity. We recognize the importance of our role in creating a culture of shared responsibility.”

How does someone give consent to sexual activity? Is it as simple as "no means no" or "yes means yes"? We asked local college students to define the word. (Video: Jayne W. Orenstein and Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)