Sigma Nu ban ignites sexual assault debate

The Old Dominion frat opened the door to conversation about sexual assault on college campuses

The signs hung over the balcony of Old Dominion University's Sigma Nu fraternity. The frat was suspended in August.

Courtesy of Twitter

The signs hung over the balcony of Old Dominion University's Sigma Nu fraternity. The frat was suspended in August.

Savannah Vizzerra, News Editor

On Aug. 25, the Sigma Nu fraternity was suspended from all activities at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. after the frat hung sexually suggestive signs from their off-campus chapter house.

The banners – which read “Rowdy and fun, hope your baby girl is ready for a good time…,” “Freshman daughter drop off” and “Go ahead and drop mom off too” have mustered up quite the controversy within the media. Some believe the fraternity was promoting “college rape culture” and creating an unwelcoming environment for incoming college freshman.

Kimberly Kingsley, a counseling staff member at SCC, considers the acts of Sigma Nu insensitive to surrounding students, staff, and parents.

“It is kind of violent, it creates a hostile environment for incoming freshmen,” Kingsley said. “I know my daughter would not feel comfortable at all in that situation.”

Freshman girls have a higher risk of being sexually assaulted from the months of August – November. This period of time is known as “the red zone.” The New York Times describes this era as “a period of vulnerability for sexual assaults, beginning when freshmen first walk onto campus until Thanksgiving break.”

“If more students knew about the red zone, they might be more cautious,” Kingsley said.

Alcohol increases the risk of sexual assault on college campuses. According to campussafetymagazine.com, 43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators.

A source from the Delta Zeta sorority at Arizona State University says that getting consent before sex is important, and that it’s necessary for men to receive a clear yes before taking advantage. As a sister, she said that she has seen sexual assault incidents on multiple occasions when alcohol is involved at parties

“Half the time I see people acting totally normal when they’re sober, then when they’re drunk, they’re more frisky and willing to talk,” she said. “Boys are more inclined to get to know you when they’re drunk, not sober.”

The Delta sister says that most times her peers don’t realize that they’re being sexually harassed until after it happens, because they aren’t educated on the topic.

Both Kingsley and the Delta sister believe that sexual harassment on college campuses could be prevented if more students aware and willing to have a conversation about it.