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Penn Dismisses Frat Accused of Gang Rape

A Weekly Survey of news from other campuses

By Robert M. Neer

The University of Pennsylvania withdrew recognition of the Alpha Tan Omega (ATO) fraternity there last week following an investigation of charges that a woman was gang-raped by members of the fraternity at a party two months ago.

But the fraternity later denied any wrongdoing and in a prepared statement called the findings of the university's investigation "a collection of gross exaggerations, malicious fabrications and unsubstantiated judgements."

Acting Vice Provost for University Life George Koval released a statement saying the incident "raises questions about the manner in which the fraternity exercised the privilege of self-governance, of conduct without supervision." Koval's statement added that Penn President Sheldon Hackney and Provost Thomas Ehrlich approved the decision to withdraw recognition.

The decision followed a recommendation by the Fraternity/Sorority Advisory Board--an organization of faculty, administrator officials and students that monitor fraternities at Penn--for strong disciplinary sanctions against the fraternity while still maintaining university recognition.

The statement said the board recommended placing the fraternity under the direction of its alumni, and immediately removing all chapter officers and members involved in the alleged incident.

But fraternity members said Koval ignored their testimony presented at a hearing before the Advisory Board.

"No brother or brother had forced sexual contact with the alleged victim, engaged in any violent behavior, verbal threats or physical abuse." ATO said in a prepared statement. "The young woman was not sexually victimized in any way."

The fraternity also maintained that quotes in the school's student newspaper. The Daily Pennsylvanian, attributed to a member of the fraternity were "unsubstantiated."

The newspaper quoted a member of the fraternity last month as saying "the young lady went out and got herself in trouble. She was loose and wild, imbibing many things and she was flaunting, herself."

Last week, Hackney commissioned a panel of five faculty members to advise the university's judicial inquiry officer Ann Hart on the possibility of pursuing action against individual members of the fraternity through internal procedures.

Hackney said he was convening the special panel because of "the seriousness of the allegations against certain individual members (of the fraternity)." --R.M.N. and The Daily Pennsylvanian

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