UC Berkeley alumnus, photographer criticized for fraternity photographs

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“The American Fraternity,” a photo book by Andrew Moisey featuring photographs of a UC Berkeley fraternity, has garnered criticism regarding the lack of written consent from the several women featured in some of the photos, after its publication in November.

Moisey, a UC Berkeley alumnus and assistant professor at Cornell University, took photos of his younger brother’s unnamed fraternity between 2000 and 2008, according to “Time” magazine. The book contains photographs from the UC Berkeley fraternity, academic essays about fraternity culture, text from a 60-year-old “ritual book” and women in compromising positions.

At least 13 of the 18 women in the book are identifiable by people who knew them but were not present when the photos were taken, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

“We would never condone the use of photographs, especially of this nature, to be taken or used without an individual’s consent,” Nanita Balagopal, UC Berkeley Panhellenic Council president, said in an email.

When one woman from the photos contacted Moisey regarding the lack of consent forms, Moisey sent her the release forms that her friends had signed, according to Alexis Schrader, a UC Berkeley alumna who recognized one of the women featured in the photos.

Moisey could not be reached as of press time.

Although Moisey recognized the risk the photographs posed to the women, he felt it was necessary to take the risk and publish the book to reveal “what really happens inside fraternities and the influence they wield in American power” according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

Schrader expressed concern about the consequences that identifiable women could face if the photos were recognized by family members or employers in the “Bust”article.

The campus is aware of the existence of the photographs in Moisey’s book, according to campus spokesperson Adam Ratliff.

The UC Berkeley Student Code of Conduct states that a violation of privacy includes “making a video recording, audio recording, taking photographs, or streaming audio/video of any person in a location where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s knowledge and express consent,” but does not extend to public events and discussions.

According to Ratliff, if a UC Berkeley student or student organization violated the policy, the campus would have jurisdiction over the matter.

Ratliff also reinforced the values of the campus and its relationship with the Greek community.

“We, as a community, are dedicated to fostering a culture of safety, respect, and an environment of safe, legal, and responsible alcohol use,” Ratliff said in the email. “The campus and our CalGreeks community work together as partners to make our campus environment safe and supportive.”

Contact Andreana Chou at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AndreanaChou.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Andrew Moisey was presumably a nonstudent when he took the controversial photographs. In fact, Moisey was a student when he took these photos.