Auburn Students Protest After Multiple Sexual Assaults on Campus

College students gathered on campus at Auburn University to protest the university's response to three separate sexual assault reports made in the past week. The protest occurred at Toomer's Corner, a popular intersection with shops and restaurants that is highly frequented by students, on Tuesday evening.

The three campus safety notices were sent out by the university via email to all students, faculty, and staff between September 8 through 14 and included two reported rapes on campus.

The latest of the reports recounted a rape that reportedly occurred at a fraternity house on campus on September 10. The statement did not directly name the fraternity involved.

Campus Safety & Security reported that the female student did not fully recall all details of the incident but disclosed physical injuries from the assault that are consistent with rape. In all three incidents, the victims chose not to file police reports or file formal complaints with the university, the school told Newsweek.

"A female disclosed to police last night that she was raped Friday night at a fraternity house. The victim/survivor does not recall the details of the incident but disclosed physical injuries consistent with a rape," the notice stated.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)reported that about 13 percent of all undergraduate and graduate students will experience rape or sexual assault "through physical force, violence, or incapacitation" and of those assaulted, only about 20 percent of female victims will report their assault to law enforcement.

On Tuesday afternoon, a group of students in an unofficial Auburn safety GroupMe organized the gathering in an attempt to protest the university's response to the three separate incidents. Word quickly spread and at 7:30 p.m. students started gathering on campus wearing red to support the victims of sexual assault, The Auburn Plainsman reported.

"It was a real shock," Madeline Taylor, a senior studying integrative biology at Auburn University told Newsweek. "Even one sexual assault happening is just horrible but for it to happen three times in one week, it's just scary to be a girl on campus."

Students at the protest were there to encourage the university to release the name of the fraternity involved in the alleged rape. Students held posters that read "hold them accountable," "BOYS WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE," and "I am embarrassed to be an Auburn Tiger."

Students at the university also started a change.org petition titled "#NameTheFrat" which currently has over 2,200 signatures. "It is difficult to hold any group accountable because no group is ever named," the description of the petition read.

"The creation and maintenance of a safe environment for our students will always be the highest priority for Auburn," the university said in an email statement to Newsweek. "The three cases reported this week—one in a residence hall, one on a campus sidewalk, and one in a fraternity house—have only intensified our commitment."

University of Auburn Protest Over Sexual Assault
Students at the University of Auburn gathered last night to protest the university's response to several sexual assault allegations made on campus. The gathered students wore red to support the rape victims. Jacqueline Nix/Getty Images

At Kansas University, nearly 1,000 students gathered outside a fraternity house on Monday night after members of the fraternity were accused of sexually assaulting a student. Protestors gathered outside the Phi Kappa Psi house with signs and started chanting for students to be held accountable, The Kansas City Star reported.

Some students came back to the fraternity house on Tuesday night to continue the protest. The rally on Monday was dubbed the "No Means No" rally by students, KSNT reported.

Late last month, students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln gathered outside the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity to protest a reported rape that allegedly occurred at the house.

The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity quickly released an official statement that they were cooperating with local police to investigate the recent allegations. Shortly after the protest, UNL officials closed the fraternity and suspended operations of the chapter.

Updated 09/16/2021, 3:44 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a statement from Auburn University.