A female student filed University judicial charges against a Theta Xi fraternity member last week for sexually harassing her at a fraternity party two years ago. College senior Katy Henrikson said yesterday she has filed a complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Officer against the Theta Xi member, whom she said repeatedly tried to kiss her despite her protests when he was a pledge at a party in February 1990. Henrikson does not know the name of the pledge, and Theta Xi President Rich McCloskey said last night he has not heard of the charges. Henrikson said the student harassed her after a pledge event in which each pledge, dressed as Cupid with a towel wrapped around his body like a diaper, ran into the room, kissed a woman and then ran to the couch to sing a song. Henrikson said she ducked away from a pledge during the event, but that he came up to her later and tried to kiss her. Henrikson said she pushed the student away with her arm while he continued to push back for "about 30 seconds to a minute." She then threw a drink in his face. She said the pledge then began to shout "Get her the fuck out of here," and then told her to "Get the fuck out." She filed the charges last Thursday. McCloskey said last night he does not know if the event occurred or not. "If it happened so long ago, I don't see why she's taken so long to do anything about it," McCloskey said. Interim JIO Jane Combrinck-Graham could not comment on the case last night and said she can not say if the charges had been filed or not. Henrikson said she did not file charges earlier for three reasons. First, she said she was scared to go through the process with the JIO. Second, she thought of the event as a normal occurrence. Henrikson also said she was concerned that the Theta Xi brother who invited her to the party would be made to feel uncomfortable by other people in the house. But Henrikson said she is now ready to come forward. She said University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's recent accusations of sexual harassment against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as well as the quickly reported acquaintance rape on campus last month, prompted her to file charges. "I had a realization following that that it's not just me who's affected by this event," Henrikson said. Henrikson said that last spring she wrote a paper on the event for a class that she sent to Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, Theta Xi and the JIO. She said she does not know how her case will turn out, adding that she is not really sure what she wants out of it. "I don't think what happened to me was in any way a traumatic event," Henrikson said. "But I did begin to realize how truly deeply I was affected by it." "I'm not talking on the personal traumatic level, but on the institutional level," Henrikson added, saying she believes fraternities "are a form of institutionalized harassment." Henrikson said she thinks fraternities fulfill a need for many people on campus, but that "all the good things about them could be accomplished in a much healthier way." Henrikson announced her charge at a forum on sexual harassment organized by Women United for Change yesterday. Other speakers at the forum included Carol Tracey, director of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia and a former head of the Penn Women's Center, and Joann Mitchell, the University's director of affirmative action. Tracey said the legal definition of sexual harassment is "conduct that is sexual in nature and is unwanted." And Mitchell explained the University's policy that defines sexual harassment as behavior that "involves a stated or implicit threat" to a victim's work or school status, interferes with the victim's school or work performance or "creates an intimidating or offensive academic, living, or work environment." About 50 people turned out for the forum. Of the approximately 20 men at the event, several were Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity pledges, according to College sophomore and PiKA pledge Scott Gallin.Comments powered by Disqus
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