Students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are under investigation after protests turned destructive outside of a fraternity house over allegations of sexual assault.
A crowd of about 300 students gathered in front of the Theta Chi fraternity house Sunday, calling for it to be shut down after sexual assault allegations circulated online and among students over the weekend. An online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures to shut the frat down over "several sexual assault allegations."
Some protesters started breaking car windows Sunday and one resident of the house was hit with a bottle, Boston.com reports. Amherst Police, Massachusetts State Police, UMass and Hadley police were on scene to disperse the crowd and are now investigating, WWLP reports.
One student explained why the crowd was there.
U.S. & World
"It's deserved because we are tired. We have tried peacefully for a very long time now to get these things resolved. So if they wouldn't listen to us peacefully, this is what we have to resort to," the student said.
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said the allegations of sexual assault prompted "an outpouring of concern and outrage among students," and called them "deeply troubling," in a statement released Monday.
"Let me be unequivocally clear, we condemn sexual violence of any kind and are committed to providing robust support services to survivors and to vigorously investigating all allegations of sexual assault," Subbaswamy said.
The chancellor added that no victims or witnesses have come forward to file a complaint or report the claims that have been made on social media. He encouraged members of the community to report incidents to the administration so that they can investigate.
"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 said.
"Fraternity staff members continue to gather facts and are not currently aware of any formal complaints filed against the chapter or members with the University of Massachusetts or the Amherst or UMass police departments," the fraternity said in a statement. "Theta Chi requests that any agency that has received formal reports of misconduct, including law enforcement and the university, to thoroughly and comprehensively review these allegations immediately."
The statement from Theta Chi also claimed the allegations had resulted in an "uproar of violence" in what the fraternity referred to as "riots." The school said no violence had been reported to officials during the protests.