/Ole Miss investigates accusations of sexual misconduct at Derby Days

Ole Miss investigates accusations of sexual misconduct at Derby Days

Officials at the University of Mississippi say that an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against a Sigma Chi fraternity Derby Days competition will conclude this week. After a viral social media post about the event, Saturday saw the start of the investigation. Brandi Labanc is vice chancellor of student affairs and says that she reported the incident to Title IX within hours of becoming aware of the post. Title IX is a federal mandate that protects students from any gender-based discrimination including sexual harassment. According to Leblanc, the university had collaborated with Sigma Chi for Derby Days. This is what it does with all registered student events. She stated that she was shocked by the revelations of sexual misconduct. “It’s 2016. It’s 2016. Labanc stated Tuesday that it was a confident “no”. Abby Bruce, a sophomore student at the university, posted on Facebook that she was near tears after watching the Derby Day Queens of the sororities feed questions filled with explicit sexual innuendo. Two Sigma Chi members who emcee the event can be seen asking a female student about her favorite memory from the Sigma Chi basement. Bobbi Jo, a student from Sigma Chi, responded by saying that her favorite memory of the Sigma Chi basement was “her nickname is B.J.” One of the emcees then said that the behavior at the event clearly violated campus policy and one UM community core value, which is that students should show respect and dignity to all. Officials at the university have directed the Sigma Chi fraternity to stop any official or unofficial Derby Days activities while the investigation is ongoing. In contests like blood drives, scavenger hunts, and the dance competition, sororities can compete against one another. The Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, Jackson, received proceeds from the event. This is the 53rd edition of the event. According to Sigma Chi, the hospital received approximately $25,000 in donations. Sigma Chi stated, “I know there have been times when there were questions about it. But this is the first time that we have had such a flareup.” We are sorry for this. Jon Fischer, the university’s chapter advisor for Sigma Chi, said that this was the first time such an incident has ever occurred. According to The Daily Mississippian the audience for the dance competition was not only members of the fraternity or sororities, but also their parents and children. Clay Wooley, president of Sigma Chi, stated that the fraternity had written and in-person apologised to each sorority for the incident and that they were conducting an investigation into the individuals involved. The fraternity released a statement saying that these young women were our friends and sisters and that it was not their intention to upset, embarrass, or hurt them in any way. “This incident, however upsetting and unfortunate it was, allows us as a community an opportunity to address the problem of the sexually sensitive culture that’s all to prevalent in the Greek system not only at the University of Mississippi but across the country,” Wooley stated that the fraternity is trying to rebuild its relationship with campus. Labanc stated that she hopes for a similar focus after the investigation is over. Talking about the incident is the most important part of my focus. Labanc stated that while we are educating the community, we will also be engaging in important conversations about how to make the community a better place._x000D