Human Lives Human Rights: Protesters took to the front of a fraternity house at UMass Amherst on Sunday as members there have been accused of sexual assault.
The group of college-aged people gathered at the Theta Chi fraternity and chanted, according to Amherst police in a press release. Around 12:12 p.m, authorities responded to the scene after one of the fraternity members called. When police arrived, the group numbered roughly 300 people.
A Change.org petition calls for the fraternity to be suspended or disbanded. As of Monday afternoon, it had over 15,600 signatures.
“After beginning peacefully, the protest became destructive when members of the protesting group threw objects at the building, tore down a flag, and attempted to gain entry, through force,” police said in the press release. “A fence on the property was damaged and vandalized.”
One of the residents was hit in the head by a bottle thrown by a protester, police said. His injuries were thought to be nonlife-threatening. No one else was reportedly injured.
Amherst police said they called in other officers from the university’s department, Hadley police, and state police to help; there were about 10 officers there.
Police asked the group to disperse around 2:15 p.m. No one was arrested, and police say they’re continuing to investigate.
On Monday, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy shared a statement with the community. He said that, while the university condemns sexual violence and is committed to investigating reported incidents and survivors, no one has yet come forward to file a complaint.
“At this point, no survivor or witness has come forward to file a complaint or a report substantiating the claims that have been made on various social media platforms,” he wrote. “While we respect and support a survivor’s decision whether or not to report an assault or pursue sanctions, we cannot take action against alleged perpetrators, whether they be individuals or organizations, without actionable evidence.
Subbaswamy asked survivors, witnesses, and any community members with information about incidents related to Theta Chi to come forward and report it so the administration can “conduct a thorough investigation and hold accountable any responsible parties.” He also condemned the violence exhibited at the protest, and said perpetrators will be charged per applicable laws and the student code of conduct.
“Allegations of this kind and the impassioned response of our community remind us of the work we must do to change the culture here on campus and in society more broadly,” he wrote. “The violence exhibited yesterday by some in the crowd, however, is not the answer. …We owe it to survivors and to every member of our community to work together to channel our emotions in a productive way to ensure a safe and secure environment for all.”