Univ. of Iowa fraternity faces sexual assault allegations as petition reaches over 70,000 signatures

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - An online petition accuses two members of Phi Gamma Delta - also known as Fiji - of sexual assault nearly a year ago and accuses police and the school of not doing anything about it.

As of Tuesday evening, the petition has more than 70,000 signatures. An original version included their names and pictures, which have since been removed.

In a statement, Fiji executive director Rob Caudill told TV9, “Upon learning of the allegations last September, the fraternity immediately removed the members involved and cooperated with the University and local police investigation.”

The petition claims Iowa City Police have video and DNA evidence, but that the county attorney opted not to prosecute. Iowa City Police declined to comment or confirm if it investigated the allegations.

Adam Robinson, the executive director of the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, said, in his experience, many sexual assault cases do not go to court.

”Those that have experienced sexual assault or sexual violence in any way, often aren’t believed. And when they are believed, some systems as well-meaning as it may be, steps in to take control and power back from the victim which isn’t just to them,” Robinson said.

The petition also criticizes the University as the students named are still listed as current students and even claims to be in the same class as the victim.

Storm O’Brink, with RVAP, said that is a common issue with sexual allegations on campus.

”Regardless of what the facts of the story are, regardless of the victim’s actions, the perpetrator’s actions, anyone’s actions that were involved, the justice system is not formatted or made to support victims,” O’Brink said.

The University of Iowa said that it can’t comment on student matters because of privacy laws. It said it offers to meet with anyone who reports sexual misconduct, but not every victim chooses to do that.

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