KDR case
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Window Of Opportunity marches outside of Kappa Delta Rho to protest against rape culture

Protest Against KDR

Chants of “We Are..Not Safe” and “Tear Them Down” echoed throughout downtown State College yesterday as students and community members marched to protest rape culture in light of the recent Kappa Delta Rho investigation.

Last week the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity was suspended after allegations of operating an invite-only Facebook page that featured pictures of nude, unconscious women, evidence of hazing and drug sales.

The chapter was suspended for one year by Kappa Delta Rho’s national headquarters due to the allegations.

Yesterday the State College Police Department said several of the women allegedly photographed by Kappa Delta Rho have been identified.

Police said none of the women identified say they were sexually assaulted.

However Kevin Reuning, a member of the Progressive Student Coalition, said rape culture isn’t just about rape itself.

“Rape culture is about the 144 students who thought this behavior was okay. This shouldn’t be normal,” Reuning (graduate-political science) said. “We now have an opportunity to make real change and have a drastic rewrite to how the university handles rape culture.”

Laura Shadle said just because this particular situation may not have been entirely violent, it doesn’t mean there aren’t violent sexual assaults occurring.

The protest was held by Window Of Opportunity, a community youth based activist group which raised awareness through a Facebook event titled ‘Speak Out - Action Now.’

This is the third protest held in relation to the Kappa Delta Rho situation.

Protest for the Women

Cara Pentoney of State College chants during the protest against KDR's alleged facebook page on Tuesday, March 25, 2015.

Shadle, the president of WOO, said they’re still here protesting because the situation hasn’t ended.

“The administration acknowledges we have a larger problem here and that acts like this against women are prevalent,” she said. “But the administration hasn’t cracked down, it seems like those involved just got a slap on the wrist.”

The protestors began to gather in front the Allen Street Gates and prepared to walk to the Kappa Delta Rho house as Diva Davis led the call and response “We Are...Not Safe” chant.

Davis (junior-women’s studies) said they took the traditional Penn State cheer and looked at it in a new light. It says how the protestors are feeling, they said, which is not safe.

The crowd chanted as they continued marching down College Avenue, up Gardner Street and onto East Prospect Avenue.

“They don’t have to come to us, but we’re going to go to them,” Shadle said. “And they’ll have to listen to us.”

The protestors stopped in front of the Kappa Delta Rho House, 420 E. Prospect Ave., and continued to chant slogans such as “Stop Rape Culture,” drawing a crowd of onlookers from neighboring fraternity houses.

Several onlookers displayed bemused expressions and took photos of the protestors, but denied to comment.

One observer shouted “tell girls not to pass out at parties” at the crowd, but wouldn’t further elaborate on his comment.

Several members of the fraternity, who also denied to comment, observed the crowd from the patio of the house.

After several minutes, the protestors turned their backs towards the house to demonstrate their disappointment with the fraternity.

Fraternity Brothers Watch On

Brothers of KDR sit outside their fraternity and photograph protest against their alleged Facebook page on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.

The protestors then proceeded marching down Fraternity Row, Locust Lane and then back down Allen Streets towards the gates.

Gina Thompson, a Bellefonte resident and teacher in the State College Area School district, joined the protestors with her three-year-old daughter.

Though she isn’t a college student, Thompson said it is unacceptable for women not to feel safe within their communities. She said women should be able to wear and do whatever they want, and our culture does not support that.

“Someday my daughter will become a woman, and it’s important for her to see there’s a movement here for her gender,” Thompson said. “She’s going to grow up in this town, and I want her to grow up where it’s safe.”

Borough Council candidate Janet Engeman and her running mate David Stone were also in attendance at the protest, and stressed the importance of the relationship between the town and university.

Engeman told the crowd if elected to borough council, she will make sexual assault a primary issue of concern. Engeman also said she feels there needs to be more cooperation with the town and university, and College Avenue is a big divide between the two.

Stone said to strengthen the relationship between the town and university, neighborhood associations need to be brought into more discussions in order to make the neighborhoods safer.

“There’s a lack of respect for families in the neighborhood,” he said. “If we unite, the administration won’t be able to forget it.”

In response to the allegations against Kappa Delta Rho, Penn State President Eric Barron announced the creation of a task force to investigate sexual misconduct and alcohol abuse in Penn State’s greek system. Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs, will lead the task force.

Engeman said she thinks the greek task force is a step in the right direction, though she hopes once it’s started that it’s actually completed.

Joanne Tosti-Vasey, resident of Bellefonte and regional director for the Mid-Atlantic region of the National Organization for Women, said while the task force is a good step, more than fraternity life needs to be looked in to.

“We have students not in greek life who need representation. LGBTA students and students with disabilities, everyone needs representation,” Tosti-Vasey said. “The task force needs to include people from all of these backgrounds.”

At the conclusion of yesterday’s protest, Shadle said there isn’t anything officially planned for the future yet, but she said the community can expect another one soon.

“I’m thrilled, we accomplished much more than I thought,” Shadle said. “People are genuinely furious and we showed it to them.”

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Hannah Sarisohn can be reached at hss5109@psu.edu or (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter @h_sarisohn.