Fraternity releases statement in response to assault allegation

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The fraternity at the center of a Roundup weekend incident, during which a UT senior claims she was assaulted, says it is conducting its own investigation of one of its member’s actions and will hold that individual “accountable” if the allegations are substantiated.

The Lambda chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity released an official statement Tuesday in response to finance senior Donesha Bell’s assault allegations against a member of its organization.

Bell said a ZBT fraternity member cursed, threw food and spat at her during its March 26 ZBTahiti party because she refused to give him her spot during rapper J. Cole’s performance.

ZBT President Nace Allen, who would not comment beyond the fraternity’s official statement, said in the statement that this is a matter that should be handled between the two individuals and is not an accurate reflection of his organization.

“We hold all of our members to the highest ethical and moral standards and expect them to represent our fraternal organization with personal integrity,” the statement said. “As such, should it be determined — after our full and thorough review and investigation into the facts — that one of our members acted inappropriately, the men of ZBT will hold such member accountable for his
individual actions.”

The fraternity sent the statement to the Office of the Dean of Students, the Interfraternity Council and the Coalition for Concerned Students. The coalition formed last week in response to Bell’s allegations and what its members call larger discriminatory issues that occur during Roundup, which is organized by individual fraternities and sororities. The coalition formed independently of any other student organizations, although it has members from groups such as Student Government and Black Student Alliance.

Members of the coalition declined to comment.

“To date, despite collecting additional information and gathering further facts from numerous eyewitnesses and an independent, third-party, licensed security company, the specific facts surrounding this incident, as ZBT currently understands them, are in dispute, with the specific allegations being reported remaining inconclusive,” according to the fraternity’s statement.

The Austin Police Department has not yet released the police report Bell filed the day of the incident because the investigation is still ongoing.

Allen said ZBT met with the Office of the Dean of Students and members of the coalition to determine how to move forward with Roundup activities in the future.

“We have also met with concerned members of the African-American community to discuss Roundup and how it can be improved to involve the entire University and not just members of the IFC,” according to the statement.

Bell said last week that although the member never used any specific racial slurs, she believes the alleged assault was racially motivated.

“He never used the n-word or anything, just the b-word and get ‘f’ out of my house, get down there with the commoners,” Bell said. “Obviously, the issues [of discrimination] still exist and I feel like we as a University need to step up and say we don’t endorse this behavior.”

A Facebook group called “BOYCOTT THE DAILY TEXAN ZBT RULES” appeared Monday after The Texan published an article about the incident, which received more than 200 comments, many of which were negative, before commenting was disabled. ZBT member Cort Kross is listed as the creator and administrator of the group. Kross could not be reached for comment as of press time.

A description on the group’s page claims The Texan is “dragging our good name through the dirt” and called the March 26 incident a simple altercation blown out of proportion.

“[Bell] will receive absolutely nothing but ill will with these outlandish statements,” said the Facebook group description.


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