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Dear Vice President of Student Affairs Michael Jackson and University of Southern California Administration,

We are writing to you today to express our profound disappointment and anger concerning the email being circulated by the USC chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity. We are an associated group of undergraduate students, student organizations, and supporters who believe this email is an explicitly racist, misogynistic, and classist use of hate speech to incite violence against women. We do not support the Universitys initial decision to defer action to the fraternitys national chapter, as we believe the body investigating this issue ought to be concerned first and foremost with the needs of women and people of color at our University. The letter that Vice President Jackson sent out to the student body does not appropriately address the breadth of this issue or the implications behind the wide dissemination of this email. We denounce attempts by various groups to cover up, deflect blame, or obfuscate this matter.

We join with graduate students, professors, parents, and the greater USC community to demand that the University, The Interfraternity Council, and the USC chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity take immediate and decisive action against this email and against the rhetoric advocating violence towards women that was tolerated in the creation and circulation of this
email. The goal of these demands is not to shame or marginalize the Greek system or any part of it, but to demand accountability for behavior that is university-wide and affects all students' lives.

Our demands to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and of the Interfraternity Council are as follows:

1. That the Interfraternity Council strongly encourage the voluntary and self-initiated enrollment of all individuals who participated in creating, writing, or disseminating this email in a Batterers Intervention Program facilitated by a body outside the university. We also stipulate that the IFC make this a requirement for any of their members who are known to have engaged in sexual assault and violence against women. We recognize that the University deferred these issues to MenCare, but that organizations role is not to handle matters of disciplinary action. The Intervention program that we are proposing will typically run for 30-52 weeks in group sessions with other men who are either court mandated to attend or who volunteer to make a change in their behavior. This is group therapy, and not a single training or workshop, in which the therapist determines when you are done based on your progression through participation. We recognize that the language of this program is stigmatizing and othering, while our intention is not to elicit shame, but to facilitate transformation. We recognize that such programs cost money ($30-$60 per session), and ask that the fraternities involved as well as their members redirect funds from fraternity activities to pay for these sessions.

2. Participation in a forum for open dialogue between IFC and interested students and student groups to address student concerns about the validity of statements released by IFC, IFCs zero-tolerance policy on discriminatory speech, and other issues relating to this event. We demand follow-through on the IFCs own professed willingness to meet with womens groups and anti-violence groups on campus.

While we are committed to ensuring those directly involved in this particular situation understand the gravity of what has occurred, we also recognize that the racism and sexism expressed in this instance are reflected in the broader USC community as well. It has come to our attention that the email was circulated for some time before someone objected, indicating a university-wide culture of silence around the rape and sexual assault of women. Furthermore, the manner in which USC has handled, or failed to handle, this situation thus far indicates the problematic nature of how issues of sexual discrimination and violence are dealt with at USC. The University must treat this matter with the weight and seriousness that it requires by recognizing that this is not an isolated incident that can be resolved by identifying the author of the email, but that the wide dissemination of the email indicates a need for education and resources to adequately handle the problem of sexual violence on USCs campus. As members of the undergraduate student body, we have first-hand experience with University mismanagement of situations of sexual discrimination and violence on campus. We have experienced victim blaming and shaming by DPS officers and other university personnel, who instead of helping to resolve these problems on campus have perpetuated a culture of silence surrounding these issues. Weve also witnessed the failure to take action or follow up when students report instances of discrimination or hate speech from professors, staff, or fellow students, failure to follow up after students request RAD self-defense courses USC claims to offer, and uncertainty about what resources are available for us in the instance of sexual assault or violence.

In this vein, we demand the university investigate and take action on a number of student concerns to reverse the trend towards violence and discrimination.

Our demands to the University of Southern California administration are as follows:

1. That the University make the processes of their investigation fully transparent to the student body. We encourage that the University create a safe venue for students who may have information concerning this matter or any other relating to the discrimination of people of color, women, LGBT individuals, and any other traditionally oppressed groups to come forward with their experiences.

2. That the University immediately take steps to increase the transparency and effectiveness of its response to sexual violence and harassment on campus. This includes, but is not limited to, widening the publication and availability of university-wide reports on the frequency of sexual violence amongst undergraduate students, the clear articulation of the steps the university will take to respond to each individual instance of reported sexual violence, and the training or re-training of DPS officers specifically commissioned to handle instances of sexual assault and violence.

3. That the University immediately make all USC students, parents, faculty, and staff aware of this situation, the seriousness with which the University is taking the matter, and set a clear timeline for following up on the results of the investigation, any associated disciplinary action, and endeavors to combat sexism in the university.

4. That the University recognize that changing a toxic culture of misogyny and racism on campus requires a significant increase in support and funding for womens, cultural, and diversity organizations and resources.

5. That USC set aside $20,000 of University funds for the series of annual Take Back the Week and Take Back the Night events.

6. That USC increase the funding, infrastructure, staffing and support for the following organizations: The Center for Women and Men and The Office of Equity and Diversity.

7. That the University assist students in holding those involved with the creation, writing, and dissemination of this email accountable to our demands.

8. That the University efforts generate sustainable anti-sexual violence initiatives.

9. That the University, by May 1st, 2011, communicates to the undersigned a plan of action to implement these demands. The plan of action must include a timeline that ensures proactive steps to meet these demands will be taken before the end of the Spring 2011 semester.

In conclusion, we, the undersigned, represent a wide body of students, student organizations, professors, and community members of USC. We expect that our campus environment be one in which all students are protected from sexual and racial discrimination and violence in every aspect of student life. Violence, sexism, and racism impact our community time and time again,
and we will not stand for the mistreatment of women, people of color, LGBT, working class and other traditionally marginalized groups. This incident has reminded us of the pressing need to prioritize the issues facing these groups, and we are committed to ensuring our voices are heard and our needs are respected throughout the course of this semester and into the years to come.

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Latest Signatures

  • 20 December 2015250. Neelam P
    I support this petition
  • 28 November 2015249. Cecelia B
    В Affiliation with USC В Zip Code В
  • 25 November 2015248. Maximilian Murphyr
    Respect and tolerance FTW Affiliation with USC undergraduate student Zip Code 90007
  • 22 November 2015247. Lan C
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015246. Anna H
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  • 01 November 2015245. Marco R
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  • 24 October 2015244. Elaina R
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  • 13 October 2015243. Aileen X
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  • 03 October 2015242. Cara D
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  • 14 September 2015241. Max H
    I support this petition
  • 11 September 2015240. Laila E
    Though I am an alumni and am no longer directly affected by the university's culture of silence against rape, I was horrified to hear about the email. I am discouraged by USC's approach to this issue. I have experienced the misogeny prevalent in the Greek
  • 08 September 2015239. Lauren A
    I support this petition
  • 02 September 2015238. Ashley L
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  • 31 August 2015237. Kimberly R
    I support this petition
  • 22 August 2015236. Nancy O
    I support this petition
  • 10 August 2015235. Debbie J
    where was security? Zip Code 28173
  • 10 August 2015234. Connor F
    I support this petition
  • 06 August 2015233. Sarah G
    I am shocked and appalled by the actions of the students involved and sincerely hope that this petition helps to focus attention where it is needed. Sexual assalt and hate crimes have gone unaddressed on innumerable college and university campuses across
  • 04 August 2015232. Alyssa M
    Unacceptable, USC administration. Just proof that money does not buy class... donations are good and all, but students are the foundation of a University. Recent actions of certain students NEED to be addressed with more seriousness and it is the administ
  • 31 July 2015231. Benjamin Taylord
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  • 30 July 2015230. Taryn A
    With support of everything you're doing from Dickinson College.
  • 30 July 2015229. Alison K
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  • 26 July 2015228. Julia W
    Thanks for this petition! Affiliation with USC Alumna Zip Code 90036
  • 25 July 2015227. Neil M
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  • 17 July 2015225. Isabella S
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Andre WelchBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
USC Administration

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