Students to discuss Kappa Sigma email


Leaders from USC’s Women’s Student Assembly, MenCare and Take Back the Night will attend a discussion tonight on the issues of sexual violence and misogyny raised by the viral Kappa Sigma email, which has continued generating controversy.

The email, which has circulated around the university, asks members of Kappa Sigma to detail their sexual exploits to members of the fraternity. It also contains a glossary of terms to describe males, females and their body parts, categorizes women by their ethnicity and nationality and provides a rating system of female attractiveness for the fraternity members.

Corey Arterian, a senior majoring in English and one of the discussion’s organizers, said she hopes the meeting will create an open dialogue of the cultural perceptions of men and women addressed in the email.

“Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that this is not just one incident,” Arterian said. “It’s not that one guy, it’s not that one fraternity, it’s not fraternity row, it’s everywhere. This email indicates a larger problem on campus that the university really can’t ignore.”

Arterian and other undergraduate students have been in contact with eight graduate students who wrote a petition that was sent to President C. L. Max Nikias on Friday.

The petition asks for a more public and transparent investigation of the viral email and an open dialogue concerning the issues of sexual violence and misogyny. It has more than 120 graduate and faculty signatures, according to Alex Young, a graduate student studying English and an author of the petition.

The controversy  surrounding the email grew when Jezebel, a blog geared toward women, posted an article March 10 claiming Kappa Sigma Nationals and IFC hid the truth of how the email originated and was leaked to the student body. The post includes a female student’s account of how her roommate edited the email and was approached by Mitchell Wilson, executive director of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and others to not talk to the Daily Trojan.

“I have not been to USC,” Wilson said. “I have not spoken with any person who claims to have been involved in the editing of this.”

Pat Lauer, president of IFC, said he encourages this woman to come forward to the university if she has evidence about the email.

Wilson said the Kappa Sigma nationals investigation has not concluded, and the investigation will not be finished until they are fully satisfied with the information. He noted the creator of the original email has not yet been determined.

Michael L. Jackson, vice president of student affairs, sent an email to the USC community Friday regarding the Kappa Sigma email and the investigation.

Jackson wrote that the university learned through its investigation that a USC student did not create the email, and a friend at a university on the East Coast forwarded it to the student who sent it to the USC Kappa Sigma listserv. The email was originally sent to the members of Kappa Sigma in November.

Still, some students are not satisfied.

“We have no basis for believing there is a cover-up, but the investigation would have been a lot more transparent and credible had it been clear that the administration rather than [the USC Interfraternity council] and Kappa Sigma nationals carried it out,” Young said.

Young said it was encouraging to receive a response from the university, but he believes discussion needs to continue about the issues raised by the email.

Ray Carlos, assistant director of the Office for Fraternity and Sorority Leadership, said it’s the administration’s responsibility to facilitate this dialogue about gender and sex.

“If the students are outraged, then they will put together programs,” Carlos said.

Samantha Carrick, a Ph.D. student studying English visual studies and one of the authors of the petition, said she felt the need to a take a public stand about what is and isn’t considered productive conversations about gender and sex.

“The most important thing for all of us is to force the community to begin a dialogue about this kind of rhetoric,” Carrick said. “The comments on  the Daily Trojan article seemed like if you are upset with this, then you are wrong, and I was very shocked by that.”

Jackson said USC Student Affairs’ MenCare program, which began in 2005, will be “[used] to address this situation.”

Todd Henneman, adviser to MenCare and assistant director for the Center for Women & Men, said IFC will introduce a liaison who will attend the MenCare meetings to help identify new ways to get the Greek community involved. MenCare also plans to reach out to all males on campus by encouraging them to attend Take Back the Night, an event that aims to spread awareness about sexual violence.

Emilia Ana Cosma, the executive director of Women’s Student Assembly, said she plans to meet with IFC in the upcoming weeks to discuss how the groups can work together on combating the issues raised by the email. She said she hopes IFC will start a Greeks against Sexual Assault group that is present on other campuses, including UCLA.

Lisa Locafcio, a Ph.D. student studying English literature and creative writing and an author of the petition, said she feels the petition is not radical in any way.

“I think the appropriate response from the university would be to welcome this dialogue and address community concerns,” Locafcio said.

The meeting to discuss the issues raised in the viral email will be held tonight at 8 p.m. in Taper Hall room 113.

  • KappaSigmaHQ

    Regarding the allegations mentioned in the above story and online blogs, Kappa Sigma Fraternity International Headquarters today issued the following statement:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    KAPPA SIGMA FRATERNITY HEADQUARTERS ISSUES STATEMENT REGARDING ONGOING USC EMAIL INVESTIGATION

    Charlottesville, VA. (March 22, 2011) –- Kappa Sigma Fraternity continues to investigate the disgusting and inappropriate email that was recently circulated to the University of Southern California academic community. Today, Kappa Sigma International Headquarters’ Executive Director, Mitchell B. Wilson, issued the following statement:

    “While we are not able to discuss details of an ongoing investigation, we do feel obligated to set the record straight regarding a recent inaccurate, irresponsible and potentially libelous blog post that was republished by a popular online ‘Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women’ blog forum.

    Under no circumstances did I, nor any member of the Kappa Sigma Headquarters staff, ever meet or speak with a woman who the anonymous blogger claimed to be her roommate and female student who edited the email being investigated. That claim was either an outright lie or a severe mischaracterization. I have not, in fact, even traveled to the State of California in more than a year. Kappa Sigma Fraternity is not aware of any of its members, officers, undergraduates, nor alumni ever meeting with this student. We are concerned and alarmed by the irresponsible circulation of this untruth.

    Kappa Sigma remains steadfast in its determination to pursue every angle to identify the creator of the email and hold that person accountable. We would never allow any of our members to conceal any truths or impede the investigation, which we are conducting as expeditiously as possible. Anyone who would believe otherwise is misguided and understands nothing about the nature of our organization.

    We have been very clear since the moment this unfortunate situation came to our attention. The content of the email is in strict contrast to the values of Kappa Sigma Fraternity — values centered upon character, honor, leadership, scholarship and service to humanity. The individuals who created and/or circulated this email do not represent these values and will face swift and decisive action.”

    About Kappa Sigma Fraternity

    Founded in 1869 at the University of Virginia, Kappa Sigma Fraternity is currently one of the largest men’s college organizations in North America, having initiated more than 200,000 members. With more than 250 undergraduate chapters and colonies throughout the U.S. and Canada, the Fraternity teaches its core standards and values through educational programming related to the four pillars of Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, and Service.

    ###

    Contact: Mitchell B. Wilson
    Executive Director
    Kappa Sigma Fraternity
    PO Box 5066
    Charlottesville, VA 22905

    • Jezabel Almost Never Lies

      Okay, no one from Kappa Sigma “Headquarters” staff met with the mystery woman living in Gateway. Do you have any unregistered “Headquarters” staff or regional based staff or alumni advisers who along with active SC Kappa Sigmas may have taken a meeting with the mystery woman? “Unregistered” fraternity members who happen to have leadership positions in the house are not really members by USC IFC standards….Ironic?

      • anon

        “Jezebel Almost Never Lies” ……. I’m seriously hoping that your screen name is supposed to be sarcastic. That website is an absolute joke.

  • Sorority Girl

    So happy the truth may be coming out at this meeting. The lies from Kappa Sigma and IFC need to end!

  • trojanelli

    i agree with C.Art. this is a two way street, and the issues must be openly discussed.
    Too many times men treat women like sexual objects. We must strive to learn more about the genders and how they are wired. Society does little to prepare us for marriage, unions, and relationships. Learning about the other gender can be eye opening for everyone. Some behavior which results from some people is outrageous and must be dealt with appropriately.

    Fight On & Learn On!!

    • anon

      Society at USC does little to prepare us for marriage, unions, and relationships. The culture here, especially within the Greek community, is overwhelmingly misogynist and definitely needs to be improved upon.

  • Rich Salas

    here we go…more “men are bad, and women are good” crud. Its all bull. Both genders have issues with the other. Women should concentrate on their attitudes towards men juts as much. the old “women are perfect and can teach men how to behave” act is getting SOOOOOOO old.

    • C.Art

      You obviously didn’t read the article. This about a dialogue both perceptions and impositions placed on men AND women and how these modes of thought are dangerous… I don’t see why any rational person would be apposed to this conversation.

  • Alex

    To read the text of the open letter sent to President Nikias, and to see a full list of the 120 faculty and grad student signatories, please visit
    http://safetyforwomenanddignityformen.blogspot.com/