Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Leaked emails discussing violence, sexual assault, drugs thrust AU into national spotlight

A closer look at the contents of the leaked EI emails

AU received national attention last spring, after more than 70 pages of text messages and email correspondence, allegedly sent between members of AU’s unrecognized fraternity Epsilon Iota, were leaked to students, media and faculty on April 16.

The documents are dated between May 2012 and March 2014 and do not appear to be a complete archive of correspondences between EI brothers during that timeframe. A former member of EI who reached out to The Eagle on the grounds of anonymity said that the leaked emails had been taken out of context.

The content of the emails and text messages fell into three categories:

  • Possible Sexual Assault
  • Crimes and Physical Violence
  • Drugs

EI is a former chapter of Alpha Tau Omega that was colonized at AU on Jan. 20, 1943 and disbanded on Feb. 19, 2001, for hazing and alcohol violations, The Eagle previously reported.

An unknown individual with the email address “worthy keeper of the exchequer” leaked the documents. When The Eagle sent a request for comment by email to the sender the news staff received an error message stating that delivery to the recipient had failed permanently. The leaker has not been identified.

The Eagle contacted 14 EI members who were potentially involved with illegal activities depicted in the leaked correspondences for comment by email. None of the brothers returned the requests for comment. The one brother who was reached by phone hung up on the reporter when she identified herself as a member of The Eagle.

A former member of EI, who spoke on the grounds of anonymity on April 22, told The Eagle that the language used in the leaked emails was “disgusting,” but that the emails selected by the leaker took the incidents out of context and portrayed them incorrectly.

The leaked documents prompted students to organize the coalition AU No More Silence, which delivered a petition to Chief of Staff David Taylor on April 24 during a protest concerning the University’s handlings of sexual assault. The petition demanded that the University take immediate action against the members of EI who were a part of the leaked emails and increase sexual assault education and survivor resources at AU.

Sexual violence called into question due to email contents
There were several references to potential sexual violence in the leaked emails, including allegedly suggesting rape as well as intoxicating female students beyond the point of consent.

AU defined consent multiple ways during the 2013-2014 academic year, but broadly the University states that the individuals involved in the sexual activity must be able to communicate effectively and be free to make a choice without the threat of force regardless of the type of clothing, intoxication level or acceptance of a date invitation.

Rape references date back to December 2, 2012 in the leaked emails. There was also a rape reference saved as a screenshot of an iPhone from an unknown date.

In one email, a member of EI outlined his potential plan to host multiple drinking events in separate apartments in a March 20 email. He wrote that it would be easy for members of EI to have sex if the members got the girls they knew intoxicated and then swapped apartments with members the girls did not know.

Hate crimes and violence described in emails
Language that is offensive to the LGBT community was used repeatedly throughout the leaked documents. The leaked emails also document a potential hitting incident as well as members of EI allegedly lying in court and fighting on-campus.

A derogatory term towards the LGBT community was allegedly written on an individual’s face at the EI house while the individual was asleep, according to a Nov. 3, 2012 email.

Six pages of EI rush shirt suggestions for an unknown year also make several derogatory statements against the LGBT community and lewd sexual comments.

May 2012 emails potentially reveal EI members covering up a situation where a brother pushed a female into a bush after she allegedly verbally and physically abuses the EI brother.

A brother who was allegedly a part of the situation wrote that the girl had been verbally assaulting the brothers involved and that one brother had slapped her “very softly” and she slipped and fell into the bushes. The brother then wrote that the girl was fine and that if he had wanted to hurt the girl, she would be in the hospital and he would be in jail.

An EI brother wrote, “You simply can’t hit a woman regardless of circumstances it[’]s completely f***ed up and quite possibly the worst reputation a man can have.”

The brothers allegedly planned to “feign ignorance” regarding the situation for the remainder of the 2011-2012 academic year, according to a May 2012 email. “It’s the end of school [tomorrow],” one brother wrote. “Everybody is leaving. Let it die.”

Drug use described and potentially photographed in emails
Adderall, pain killers and marijuana were among the controlled substances discussed in the leaked emails.

Brothers allegedly discussed using or acquiring marijuana five times:
An “everlasting green supply” in a Dec 2, 2012 email
A photograph of a male who is allegedly smoking marijuana outside the Child Development Center on AU’s campus in an Aug. 24 2013 email
A girl who could bake marijuana brownies in an Aug. 26, 2013 email
Access to an individual who can provide “dope” in a May 7, 2013 email
The need to recruit “american kids to smoke pot and drink beer” in a Jan. 14 email

The brother in the May 7, 2013 email claims to allegedly have access to “bonafide Lucy,” which is a another name for LSD or acid.

Four emails also discuss the desire for and willingness to provide or swap other controlled substances for Adderall, which is a Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication.

“We are outraged by the reprehensible content of this material,” Hanson said in a memo to the AU Community. “It could not be more contrary to American University’s values and standards. Assault, sexual assault, bullying, underage and binge drinking, illicit drug use, misogyny, homophobia, and racism are antithetical to our values. We will address them head on.”

Staff writers Alejandro Alvarez and David Lim contributed to this report.

shogan@theeagleonline.com


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