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WKU students call for change, more accountability after reported rape at fraternity house

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 10:59 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - After an investigation into an accusation of rape that allegedly took place inside the Sigma Nu house on WKU’s campus, students are speaking out after the university did not comment on the alleged incident at first.

“It feels like this has just gone like swept under the rug, and not completely acknowledged,” Emily Lindsey, a WKU student said.

Four days after Ben Massingille was arrested and charged with first-degree rape, WKU Media Relations Director Bob Skipper sent out a statement saying Sigma Nu is being placed on interim suspension.

“With the information contained in the police report released Friday afternoon on the rape investigation at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, Western Kentucky University has placed the fraternity on interim suspension pending an investigation into possible policy violations,” Skipper said in an email to 13 News. “The chapter has been notified. No additional information will be released at this time,” the statement concluded.

On Wednesday, 13 News reached out to Bob Skipper, Charley Pride, who is the director of student activities on campus, and Andrew Rash, who is the coordinator of Greek life, for comment on the case. Pride and Rash did not respond, and Skipper said the campus does not comment or speculate on ongoing criminal investigations.

“If the administration truly cares about their students, then at the very least they could speak up when one of their own has been assaulted,” Creeson Martin, a student at WKU, said.

Now, students are left wondering what action the university plans to take next, admitting that ‘fraternity’ or ‘college’ culture can sometimes create unsafe environments that lead to dangerous situations.

“With any college campus, there are going to be, you know, enablers that allow men to get away with this kind of thing, and that’s just kind of college culture, and that’s, that’s something I’d love to change, but it’s definitely difficult to change,” Noah Moore said. Moore is a senior at WKU and is also a member of Greek life on campus.

Moore has held a leadership position in his fraternity and said there are ways you can create a safer environment at social events and educate members on sexual assault prevention.

“It really is just based on how you operate a fraternity,” Moore said. “‘Greek Affairs’ have worked really, really great with my chapter and helping us set up programming for sexual assault prevention and things like that.”

He went on to say he is hopeful that WKU will take some type of action to address the issue of sexual assault on campus. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four undergrad women will experience sexual assault on a college campus.

“I think we have to take the issue of sexual violence seriously because it does affect so many people,” Melissa Whitley, the executive director of Hope Harbor said.

Hope Harbor is a local non-profit that empowers and supports anyone impacted by sexual trauma. For more information on how you can get access to resources if you have been a victim of sexual assault, you can visit hopeharbor.net.

Students continue to stand in solidarity with the victim of this alleged crime. “I stand by the victim, and I don’t know who she is, but if I could talk to her and if I could tell her anything I would say I stand by you,” Emily Lindsey said.

More than 16,500 people have signed a petition on change.org to have Ben Massingille’s bond revoked. Students also plan to peacefully gather at Centennial Mall on WKU’s campus Monday in support of victims who have experienced sexual violence. The rally will begin at 12 p.m.

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