Disgusting UVM Fraternity Questionnaire Sparks Outrage

Today finds me crawling out of blog hibernation to point ya’ll to the latest installment of “College Boys Just Want to Have Fun…By Demeaning Women and Making Jokes About Rape.” Today’s episode takes place at the University of Vermont, where a puzzling and revolting survey was recently distributed to the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon. We were sent a copy of the questionnaire, which mostly consists of benign questions like name, birthday, major, amount of time with SigEp and favorite SigEp memories, hobbies, future goals, etc. It’s actually kind of nerdy and cute, until you get to the final three “personal questions.”

1. Where in public would I want to have sex?

2. Who’s my favorite artist?

3. If I could rape someone, who would it be?

We come across a lot of gross stuff at SAFER, but the contrast here makes this particularly jarring and offensive. It’s not the usual litany of purposefully offensive garbage; it’s a seemingly legit, “normal” survey with this one horrifying nuggets thrown in at the end. The normalization of the question—the nonchalance—is so…disturbing.

As often happens with these kind of “frat shenanigans,” the survey made it into the hands of other folks on campus, who were understandably upset and are taking action. This petition was started last night by “Feminists from UVM” and is already up to 375 signatures. This is what they have to say:

This egregious expression of rape culture is only the most recent example of systemic sexism at UVM. The past year alone has witnessed rape, multiple sexual assaults, and anti-abortion chalking in public spaces. While the university administration has laid off long-time Women’s and Gender Studies faculty and supported sexist institutions like Sigma Phi Epsilon, it has refused to take concerted action to combat sexism and rape culture. We demand that instead of diverting resources into vast salaries for its administrators, UVM should launch an aggressive campaign against sexism and rape culture, and it should expand institutions such as Women’s and Gender Studies and the Women’s Center at UVM. Furthermore, UVM must immediately disband Sigma Phi Epsilon. An institution that discusses who it wants to rape has no place at UVM or in the Burlington community.

Sign the UVM petition and look for updates over at FedUp Vermont, a local grassroots feminist organization. The story hasn’t hit the news yet (campus or otherwise) so there is no word on whether the school will take any action or if the men of Sigma Phi Epsilon have anything to say for themselves, but we’ll let you know if they do. Something tells me this was supposed to “funny.” Ha. Ha. Ha.

    8 thoughts on “Disgusting UVM Fraternity Questionnaire Sparks Outrage

    1. As a long-time Vermonter, still a Vermont taxpayer, and sister of two UVM alumnae, I’m horrified and offended by the casual violence of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s survey question. If the frat wanted publicity, they got it–but I hope they also get shut down.

    2. Thanks Steven! As a brother, I’m still not going to wear letters until we hear an apology from VT-? but I’m glad the national fraternity is looking into it. This fraternity will be different. I’m proud to see it owning the and correcting this indiscretion.

    3. It’s horrible that this happened. It’s unfortunate that one person with a horrible perspective reflects on every Sigma Phi Epsilon and frat members as a whole, but it does. This fraternity will be different. It has to be different. There is no place in this world for misogyny, hazing, bigotry, or any other hate inspired actions. It would be ideal if all Sigma Phi Epsilons were already of perfectly sound body and sound mind, but most have to learn. Sadly, this is an horrendous example of having so much to learn.

    4. How I love the assumption in the questionnaire that OF COURSE all young men want to forcibly inflict pain and emotional suffering on women. That’s what women are for, after all—to be men’s victims when they’re of a mind to perform acts of violence. I do hope that at least some of the men reading this questionnaire reacted with the disgust that any decent human of either gender SHOULD feel at being asked such a question. Just as I hope that disgust is the response of the administration at UVM, a school from which two of my male cousins graduated, having thankfully never been put to such a “test of character” as this.

    5. What’s “funny” is that you are relying on information from a TUMBLR BLOG. A blog started by a girl who dropped out of greek life, wrote posts about hating greek organizations and now, exploits this very serious allegation to the public? Okay, cool. Nice credible source. Your story is so newsworthy!