Everyone from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to the University administration has commented on the flyers posted around campus this week that included an email protesters decried as an example of rape culture.
That is, except the members of off-campus organization OZ, the group that has been widely associated with the account “email@example.com” that sent the email, which took the form of a crude poem inviting freshman women to attend one of OZ’s “Wild Wednesday” parties.
As the media maelstrom over the flyering protest has continued, with news outlets such as BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Business Insider all writing stories about the incident, OZ has offered nothing but radio silence.
Over thirty current members of the group did not respond to repeated, individual requests for comment.
Though no one from the group has commented on the protest, OZ did cancel its “Wild Wednesday” party this week, according to an email from an affiliated sorority listserv provided to The Daily Pennsylvanian. An email sent to the account that had sent out the party invitations returned with an error message, suggesting the account has been shut down.
To the protesters responsible for the flyering that began on Tuesday and continued throughout the week, OZ’s silence was inexcusable.
“I think it’s the bare minimum courtesy to at least acknowledge that the email was degrading, dehumanizing and in the wrong,” said College sophomore Abby McGuckin, one of the protesters. In response to the release of the email, McGuckin left a group chat she shared with her friends and some members of OZ.
Since the protest began, McGuckin said no one from OZ has reached out to her.
“I really feel like they should have issued an apology by now. They’re clearly aware that this has happened," said College junior Amanda Silberling, who has helped lead the protests since Tuesday.
Other protesters urged the group to come forward to begin a conversation about the language of the emails.
"This is not about attacking specific organizations or people," said College senior Syra Ortiz-Blanes. "Yes, it's about calling things out, but it's also about constructively engaging in dialogue to address systemic misogyny and rape culture."
Though OZ has kept quiet about the incident, other organizations — both affiliated and unaffiliated — have harshly criticized them and planned their own responses to the protests.
The fraternity Pi Lambda Phi hung a sign around 4 p.m. on Thursday from their chapter house on the 3900 block of Spruce St. that says, “Stand With Survivors. The sign mimics the style in which fraternities traditionally hang bedsheets from their house windows to advertise rush events.
"I have nothing personal against OZ," said Pi Lambda Phi President and College junior Austin Du, "but as a fraternity administrator, I feel like they have an obligation to respond to this."
Though OZ is not affiliated with the University, Pi Lam is one of many affiliated fraternities and sororities to publicly call out the off-campus group for sending out the "Wild Wednesday" email.
In response to the email, an affiliated sorority released a statement on Tuesday that said in part, “We highly value the maintenance of a safe space for our sisters and all other women on campus. We will not stand for this blatant show of disrespect to our fellow students.
When asked to comment on the activism this week given how outspoken affiliated Greek organizations have been, a spokesperson for the Division of the Vice Provost for University Life, which oversees the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, declined to provide further comment beyond the University statement released on Tuesday.
“I hope other fraternities will follow Pi Lam’s lead in saying something,” Silberling said.
As for members of OZ, their campus peers continued to urge them to speak out.
"If that was a Pi Lam email that got sent out, I would have immediately said something," Du said. "As students, they really should speak up about it."
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