‘#BoycottFrats’: UC Berkeley students protest at fraternity houses

Thao Nguyen/Staff

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Updated 10/28/18: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from ASUC President Alexander Wilfert and campus sophomore Katarina Stroud.

Content warning: Sexual violence and offensive language

About 10 UC Berkeley students gathered in front of several fraternity houses along Piedmont Avenue on Saturday afternoon, including Delta Kappa Epsilon and Pi Kappa Alpha, or PIKE, to protest sexual violence in the Greek system.

There was no “centralized group” that organized the protest, according to campus sophomore Katarina Stroud, who attended the protest. The group initially gathered in front of Kappa Delta Rho, or KDR, about 1 p.m., holding signs that said “#BoycottFrats” and “Accountability Now!”

About 3:30 p.m., as the group stood in front of California Memorial Stadium, a man yelled at them to “show (their) tits,” Stroud said, and another man called a protester “queer” in a derogatory manner and gestured as if he were ejaculating on the protester. She added that a man said he “assaulted many women” and was “proud” of it, and that she herself was called a “c—” and a “bitch” by bystanders.

A video from the protest was also posted on Twitter, in which ASUC President Alexander Wilfert can be seen shaking his head after one of the protesters asked, “Where’s your support, Mr. President?”

Wilfert said his initial reaction to the protester was to shake his head because he did not want to comment at the time, as he was attending the Cal football game with his family. His gesture, he said, came off as “something that it wasn’t.”

“I hate to ever be in a position where it seems like I’m not supporting survivors,” Wilfert said. “This was me not wanting to comment, not because I disagreed with the protesters.”

Wilfert added that he has made several statements addressing sexual violence in the Greek community and is committed to making sure that perpetrators are held accountable — he said he hopes those actions speak louder than what is portrayed in the video.

During the protest, a man in front of KDR allegedly pushed the protesters and threw one of their phones, according to Stroud. The group then walked to Phi Kappa Tau, where people exiting the house began to talk to the protesters and offer them water.

About 2:20 p.m., the protesters gathered in front of PIKE. They then walked onto campus and returned to California Memorial Stadium, where they stayed until about 3:40 p.m., according to Stroud.

Saturday’s protest occurred in light of members of Phi Gamma Delta, or Fiji, jokingly posing in a photo with student protesters gathered outside of their house Oct. 13. This incident prompted many members of the UC Berkeley community to release statements condemning their actions, including members of Greeks Against Sexual Assault and the ASUC.

Some of the protesters covered their faces with bandanas, and Stroud said they did so because they did not want to distract bystanders from the messages on their signs.

“We stand with survivors of sexual assault and are particularly criticizing the practices of fraternities that neglect survivors,” Stroud said. “This protest is not about us.”

Contact Anjali Shrivastava and Thao Nguyen at [email protected].

A previous version of this article incorrectly identified an individual as a member of Kappa Delta Rho, or KDR. In fact, the individual is not affiliated with KDR.