Sigma Phi Epsilon: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?”

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The bad news: University of Vermont’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity sent around a survey asking “If you could rape someone, who would it be?”

The good news, the fraternity was suspended from campus pending an investigation.

Officials said they were investigating not only who sent the survey, but what was going to be done with the answers.

“So that causes great concern to us about what’s the purpose of that kind of question,” Annie Stevens, who oversees campus and student life at the university, told WCAX-TV.

The frat has also drawn the ire of the university’s Feminists group, whose petition to disband Sigma Phi Epsilon has garnered more than 2,000 signatures.

“An institution that discusses who it wants to rape has no place at UVM or in the Burlington community,” the group wrote.


This frat has been in trouble, for hazing, before.

Is there any reason at all they should be let back on campus? It is not like they have a right to exist, is it?

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19 thoughts on “Sigma Phi Epsilon: “If you could rape someone, who would it be?”

  1. Is there any reason at all they should be let back on campus?

    Not without a significant public commitment to signal that they understand that what they did was wrong, and why.


    Let them back in on probation with the understanding that they will do fundraising for a local women’s shelter. Let the key members work with some of the key staff at the shelter. Let them see the reality of abuse, in all its stark and pointless ugliness.

    If they:
    a) do a good job with fundraising, and
    b) can demonstrate that they bloody well learned something from the experience

    Then I’d say not only should they let them back in, but the whole experience should be considered for an accredited course. That’s educational.

    Could be a pipe-dream, of course. I’m a bit ignorant of the realities involved in setting something like that up. But on the surface of it, it seems like a good idea to me.

  2. I like that idea, Daniel, except them getting college credit for it. It’s more of a life lesson if they DON’T get the credits. Their ability to remain a fraternity should be the only reward for what is otherwise basic, decent human behavior.

    Other places they could volunteer would be women’s health clinics, like Planned Parenthood. Fundraising could also be done for health issues that primarily affect women, such as breast cancer. But I think the abused women’s shelter is the best idea with those others being things they could do as an on-going attempt to keep their fraternity membership in later years.

  3. Sig Apes (eps) had a bad reputation when I was going to school back in the late 70’s. Are social fraternities needed on campus?

  4. I say the profs just need to claim assignments were not turned in and they all flunk. Their papers should be triple scrutinized for plagiarism.

    If that does not work. Slash their tires and burn down the frat house. Maybe gas them with gopher bombs, a chemical weapon available in most hardware and feed stores. Should not be fatal to any human who is not passed out drunk.

  5. Daniel? I don’t think it would be anything like justice to have vulnerable victims of abuse subjected to the company of guys who think rape is a fun topic for a “get to know you” questionnaire. It’s not their job to teach these despicable scum some human decency.

    The group should be disbanded and the men responsible for the questionnaire should be expelled from the university.

  6. This falls into a category of Not Even Wrong. It is so wrong that it is beyond the beyond.

    Giving this frat the benefit of the doubt, who the hell would think that this is a funny joke? Why wouldn’t members protest this if they aren’t tasteless misogynists or cowed with fear? Who the hell would fill it out?

    Way to promote rape culture and misogyny, dooods. Making light of rape like that, especially when going out of your way to do so, just gives cover to rapists and other misogynists, and promotes bad thinking and emotional memes.

    Without the benefit of the doubt, are there rapists or rapists-in-waiting involved? We know what the statistics say, but maybe there is a live offender (or more than one) involved.

    I fucking hate the “greek system”. I know there are two or three organizations which are nominally “greek” but don’t share the overall piss-poor culture, but they can exist happily without official university support for an entire “greek system”. I’ve seen very little to recommend it, and plenty to damn it. Yet other organizations which have some useful point have to fight for official recognition to operate in a campus scenario.

    And how bad is it this particular frat was suspended in the past by their own central office, which is usually the core support for the crap behavior culture? They behaved so badly that they were sacrificed by their own for being too obvious.

    They call themselves “brothers”. Bros before hos and rape victims, right?

  7. This sort of thinking is rooted in an authoritarian sense of of entitlement and drive to dominate. In MBA programs the admonition was to “Bear down” as if it was all about summoning the confidence, focus and will and getting your way by imposing it upon the lesser people. Yes, this kind of starts to sound a little like fascism.

    Domination is not something that you work with the target toward. It is imposed upon the situation and people from outside. How those inside may feel about this outside force isn’t really a consideration for the entitled authoritarian.

    Rape is just a small-scale, and particularly disgusting, example of that thinking. In fact rape seems to be, for me, the most appropriate descriptor for much of what big business does to nations, peoples, economies, and societies as they move forward and systematically privatize profits, and pleasures, and socialize liabilities, and pain.

    Fraternities are the ‘charm school’ feeders for big business. Their willingness to rape is a mark that they are almost indoctrinated. Their willingness to talk about it openly shows they still need a little more time in the oven. I’m sure they will get a stern talking to about public relations and maintaining a public image to disguise their intentions.

  8. @celeste

    Sorry, for clarity: I did not mean to imply that the frats should be accredited. Their only reward would be to be let back in.

    However, if all the effort was to be put into making such an activity actually work, it seems a shame to let that fall to the wayside.

    So maybe make it into an accredited course afterwards – I think that working with a women’s shelter would be very educational as a social studies perspective, to actually see the results. So there’s a genuine educational purpose there, understanding of which could be assessed in the form of written work presented throughout the semester that is related to the experiences of the class. As an added benefit, there’s also the social good of the fundraising for the shelters themselves.

    All said and done – maybe this couldn’t be made to work. It was only a throwaway idea.


    That’s a really good point. And now that I think about it a bit more, there might be some serious concerns about entrusting the fuckwits with the location and identities of the women involved at those shelters.

    I still think that there’s something in the idea that could be salvaged. Perhaps instead of bringing the students to the shelters, key staff and volunteers from the shelters should be brought in to organize and oversee the house members as they engage in fundraising.

    There would be less of an impact as the house members wouldn’t be working directly with the shelters to see everything up-front – but obviously the women at the shelters need to come first.

    I understand fully the desire to disband and expel as a form of punishment. It would even be just to do so.

    Expelling them just sends them out into the world with exactly the same problematic views. Chastened? Maybe. Changed? Probably not.

    This is certainly a viable solution, but even so its a mediocre one. We may be able to do better.

    I think that it would be even better to make the effort to change hearts and minds.

    Certainly, such an attempt may fail. I don’t understand the difficulty, or the stubbornness of idiots.

    But I still think that if a method can be devised that doesn’t run any significant risks for the parties involved, it would be worth a try. Particularly if it can be designed in such a way that it could be repeated.

    So yeah. Maybe my idea wouldn’t work – but it doesn’t hurt to try and be a little bit constructive during criticism.

  9. The d***head who wrote it needs to be expelled, along with those who signed. Aside from that the remaining little boys can watch their frat be disbanned from UVM. Simple and easy.

    If something like “cheating” on an exam at UVM can lead to a student being expelled, then why wouldnt a comment made about “raping” someone also lead to the same fate? I think RAPE is a little more serious than “cheating on an exam.”

    and I liked the person’s comment about “Which Sigma Phi Epsilon would you like to kick in the balls?” Sororities especially need to step up to the plate, or else they are hindering the problem by not saying anything! Those girls interact with SigEp all the time. By them not speaking up and DOING something to counter act this also hinders their reputation….its almost like they are OK with this. Is that the reputation the sisters at UVM really want to have, one which is ok with their frat friends making these comments. THEY NEED TO SPEAK UP or else they are JUST AS LAME as those boys.

    And I’d like to hear what other frat boys (Sig Ep or other frats) who were not involved in the incident have to say about this. THEY need to speak up as well against this, regardless of if its their “brother”. COME ON, lets get people TALKING.

  10. “Alethea H. Claw says: If I could rape anyone…then it would be the person who designed that questionnaire. Or perhaps the pope.”

    Anti-Catholicism is the second most pernicious form of bigotry and discrimination in the United States, after racism.

    It was alive and well at UVM when I was in graduate school there during the early 1970’s and it seems nothing has changed in this regard in 40 years.

    The sort of remark by Ms. Claw, made publicly in a discussion about values at UVM, does more damage to the reputation of the campus culture than anything those fraternity boys may have done.

  11. Anti-Catholicism is the second most pernicious form of bigotry and discrimination in the United States, after racism.

    Oh bull fucking shit.

  12. Anti-Catholicism is the second most pernicious form of bigotry and discrimination in the United States, after racism.

    Fuck you. Fuck the Pope. You are off your fucking rocker.

  13. Way to go people. Blame an entire group of people for the actions of one or two. Teach our children that FUD and scapegoating is more important than doing what is right. Great work!

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves for sitting in judgement over this. I am a rape victim (how I lost my virginity) and nothing makes me more sick then when people take things like this totally out of proportion.

    Fuck you all very much.

  14. Anon, Imma go ahead and doubt you on this. I don’ think you are a rape victim. I think you are some guy in a frat, and I think that because the whole point of a frat is to stick together, defend the group, do everything as prescribed by the culture of the frat.

    This is why we can trounce the frat verbally for what they have done: This is not a few individuals being bad but a frat being a frat, and being bad. And this is why I don’t believe you. You appear to be pulling a stunt.

    Feel free to prove to me that you are who you say you are and that what happened happened. I’ll even take weak evidence and I’ll keep it confidential and if you prove to me that you are who you say you are I’ll retract my initial statement calling you a liar. Until then, you’re a liar.

    Have a nice day, guy.

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