A UCF sorority member reported being “raped in the back seat” of a car by a fraternity member while on the way home from a downtown Orlando bar.
The incident happened after the Delta Zeta sorority and Zeta Beta Tau fraternity were on a social together at Rok Room on March 27. The victim had left the bar early and was sitting outside “noticeably intoxicated” and waiting for her boyfriend to come pick her up, according to UCF’s student conduct report. A second sorority sister was waiting next to her.
Meanwhile, a fraternity brother who “had too much to drink” was escorted outside the bar by a second fraternity brother and they noticed the sorority women, the report said.
When the victim’s boyfriend arrived, one of the fraternity brothers lifted the victim over his shoulder and put her in the back seat of her boyfriend’s car. That’s when the fraternity brother apparently got the victim’s vomit on his shirt and also asked for a ride home.
The suspect got in the back seat of the car with the victim, while her boyfriend and the second ZBT brother rode in the front. According to the report, “the car ride back was fine” but when they arrived at the ZBT house and the two brothers got out of the car, “a few seconds later” the victim’s boyfriend followed them, then pushed the suspect and accused him of sexually assaulting his girlfriend while on the ride home.
The UCF report states that the victim filed a police report and that the DZ president reported the incident to UCF officials. The president’s report to UCF officials led to UCF punishing the entire sorority with disciplinary probation through Spring 2015 for “disruptive conduct” and failing to stop underage students from drinking alcohol. The fraternity received the same punishment. Both groups opted not to fight those charges, so the cases were disposed of informally, rather than through a formal hearing.
“After a thorough review, the university determined that the sexual assault allegations were not an organizational conduct issue,” said UCF spokesman Chad Binette.
It’s unclear if UCF brought sexual misconduct charges against the accused ZBT brother, and if so, whether he was found in violation by UCF.
“We are not allowed to discuss individual student conduct cases,” Binette said, referring to UCF’s interpretation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA.
The Center for Public Integrity released a 2009 report critical of how FERPA complicates campus rape investigations, entitled: “Sexual Assault on Campus Shrouded in Secrecy.”
“FERPA forbids schools from divulging students’ educational records, including disciplinary records. Administrators believe it binds them to silence on case details, but others aren’t so sure,” according to the center’s report.
The report goes on to state: “Under FERPA, colleges can release names of students found ‘responsible’ for committing violent acts. But ‘we don’t,’ concedes Rick Olshak, associate dean of students at Illinois State University, ‘and I don’t know anyone who does, frankly.’ Victim advocates contend that colleges use the law as a smokescreen to cover up campus crimes.”