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Anonymous Group Vandalizes Fraternity Houses At UT Austin

Vandalism appears around frat houses at the University of Texas at Austin.

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The University of Texas Tower on the University of Texas campus on September 19, 2009 in Austin, Texas.
Ronald Martinez/Getty

Last week, fraternities near the University of Texas at Austin were vandalized with messages spray painted on or near their houses. The first fraternity to be targeted was Phi Gamma Delta, also known as Fiji. On Monday, the words “rapist” and “racist” appeared on the pillars near their gates. Throughout the week, other fraternities, including Kappa Alpha, Kappa Sigma, and Pi Kappa Alpha were also targeted. The university’s student newspaper, the Daily Texan, reports that the graffiti ranged from accusations of racism and rape to threats such as “kill frat boys” and “nuke the frats.”

Pierce Durham, the president of UT’s Fiji chapter told the Texan that the fraternity has filed a police report and that they’re unsure of who the vandals were. “Texas Fiji is vandalized from time to time, and we are working with police to get to the bottom of this incident,” he said.

On Wednesday, UT President Gregory Fenves issued a statement about the vandalism:

At The University of Texas of Austin, we will not tolerate vandalism and threats targeting our students and are actively investigating the recent incidents near campus. Many students understandably feel concerned and vulnerable. I want them to know we are committed to making UT Austin a safe environment for all of our students.

UT police are working with Austin police to add extra patrols to the neighborhood and review video footage as part of a criminal investigation. The university has provided crisis support, advice and guidance to the students and groups affected by the incidents. The Office of the Dean of Students is investigating, in accordance with the recently issued Hate and Bias Incident Policy. The incident has also been referred to the Campus Climate Response Team.

Anyone with information about these incidents should contact UTPD at 512-471-4441.

On Friday, an anonymous group claimed responsibility for the vandalism in an essay published on “It’s Going Down,” a “media platform for revolutionary anarchist, anti-fascist, and autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements.” The group, which refers to itself in the essay as “barbarians at the gates” claims that they are “rogue actors” who launched the attacks in response to “the everyday crisis that is rape culture, white supremacy, and elitism.” The group seems to be using fraternities as a proxy for their frustrations with the university as a whole:

Fiji may be notorious for its rape room, racist parties, and horrific pledge rules, but it is not that unique. It is no accident that so many fraternities take the style of plantation homes—the institutions of Greek life are themselves colonial, bourgeois, patriarchal structures, founded to preserve the reproduction of elite classes. Our attacks come in response to the everyday fear and feeling of danger that these institutions and their members produce for students of color, women, queer and trans students, and other marginalized folks. Catcalls, racial slurs, rape jokes, and more are the daily realities which go unspoken and uninvestigated by either the police or the University.

In the essay, the group notes that it hopes that conversations about sexual assault and white supremacy on campus will continue, and that their actions will serve as a “template” for other students to hold university institutions accountable. The essay also hints that the original “barbarians” may no longer continue their vandalism amidst police investigations.

The Texas Interfraternity Council released a statement condemning the vandalism and calling for a “safe, enriching and inclusive environment for all members of the UT campus community.” The organization also noted that they’ve been working with the university and other organizations such as Not On My Campus and Voices Against Violence to address sexual assault. Just last month, the university released a study that reported that 15 percent of female undergraduate students at UT said they had been raped. The Dallas Morning News reported that University President Gregory Fenves said the survey “reveals a problem in our university, as well as society, that has existed in the shadows for too long.”

This isn’t the first time that UT has been faced with this kind of vandalism. In 2015, statues of Confederate leaders were spray painted with messages such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Bump All The Chumps.” One statue was that of Jefferson Davis, which was later moved from its post in the university’s Main Mall to an exhibition in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

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  • Brandon James Maynard

    “The Texas Interfraternity Council released a statement condemning the vandalism and calling for a “safe, enriching and inclusive environment for all members of the UT campus community.” ”

    If it was inclusive already, then why is UT ‘property’ being vandalized demanding inclusivity and equanimity?

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    • solly

      If you do not feel included or equal, murdering people is not the proper response.

  • Manuel Labor

    Why not the Phi Delts? I feel left out!

  • RamblinLonghorn

    Word on campus is that today’s fatal stabbing at Gregory Gym was related to the Fraternity vandalism group.

  • Noah Figg

    Is the Kendrix White stabbing spree today related? Also, rumors of a near-stabbing in which a person’s hoodie was checked for fraternity symbols with knife at their throat.

  • solly
  • UIUCAlumn

    The University of Missouri President is forced to resign over poop shaped like a swastica, while UT students are being stabbed and their housing vandalized with threats to kill them.

    Perhaps some UT administrators need to be held accountable, too?

  • Ma1nguy1

    I find it amazing in the year 2017AD that many colleges and universities are still dealing with racial issues so much that now you have White and Black fraternities. I blame the parents and grandparents who continue to spew their hatred and marginalization of other races onto their children. Racial prejudice is taught early on and taught carefully by the parents and relatives of the child. Also those coming from the upper echelons of society come onto the campus with the attitude that somehow they’re special because of their upper class status. Worse still they network with others like themselves in the fraternity and then into the working world………

    • Noah Figg

      Well good job blaming the old instead of all the particular people in charge of educational systems, media and the framing of history. I’m sure teaching cultural marxist ideas to a couple generations of people, and that the white male is always the (only) oppressor, twisting the idea of rights to “rights to other people’s stuff”, calling government corruption “capitalism”, and instilling victim mentality in all women and minority groups has nothing to do with what you’re seeing today. You’ve never considered apparently what effect it has on people to be told constantly that they are evil and racist by people who clearly don’t care what the truth is, and telling another group constantly they’re being oppressed and are victims, and anything they fail at is because of other people’s puppet strings. But no, that’s crazy. Don’t consider any history and conclude it’s just old people, if only the state could take children away and raise them properly, I guess it would be solved. **cough** Brave New World **cough**

      • Ma1nguy1

        +Noah Figg Who the hell is talking about “marxism” and “capitalism”? I’m speaking about attitudes from one group to another group. Being a proud Black American, I don’t in anyway see myself as a “victim of oppression”. Never have and never will. I got to where I am today in my own journey by working hard to achieve my own set of goals and I realized many of my ambitions. I never expected a handout from anyone. I put myself through college by sweeping floors, busing tables, and washing dishes and not in anyway ashamed. I came from a wonderful family, we were poor but no one knew it. When Dad got sick and was unable to work we did go on welfare but it was short lived and never became a lifestyle. I never learned racial prejudice from my family. I only became aware of it when I entered elementary school. I never knew about segregation because I lived in northern California and my playmates and friends were like the United Nations. I did well for myself in the socio-economic category and live in a gated community.

        I don’t justify killing because of someone’s cultural/ethnic roots as I’ve seen in the media. However the issue I still have is “Why are there still Black and White fraternities on the campuses of our colleges and universities? If I may be objective though, I still discern this “elitist” attitude that is still so pervasive among many of the White students born into privilege in which they’re an enclave unto themselves and that attitude follows them into corporate America after college.

        • Noah Figg

          I am not into judging people by their race or gender, either. I’m glad you don’t buy into what I was talking about. There are many great people and families like yours that don’t fall into these pitfalls. My point was that you weren’t considering cultural marxism as it relates to race relations, not that you were. I chose to talk about it because it is a strong ideological force that has pushed the ideas I discussed onto a lot of people, mainly through public school and academia, and it does so by over-emphasizing all the natural group tensions within a society, drumming up older tyranny or group domination and projecting it falsely onto the present. The discontent and rage it sows can be turned into political violence or votes, like mobs of “anti-fascists” who can’t really find any fascists but settle for anyone on the right.

          The reason I commented is I think it is incorrect to think that racism only comes from ignorant people in past generations. There are groups that intentionally use racism and the perceived threat of racial oppression to sway political situations, like the Democrats did with the KKK, or as in the last election when Hillary tried to portray anyone that might vote for Trump as racist. On top of that, there was a wave of self-committed or falsely reported “hate crimes” near after the election which attempted to cement this idea that Trump voters were racist. I don’t deny that there are a lot of racist people in our country and in the world, but they don’t generally form large political voting blocks here. I think when any group feels it is attacked, there is a understandable desire to form exclusive clubs for that particular group for community or support, etc. I don’t think it is wrong for any group to create a Black X club or White X club or Japanese X club. Imagine if you had a lot of foreign students from Israel and Palestine at UT, you could understand if they created separate clubs due to societal and cultural conflicts. I don’t really want to join any such group, but their existence doesn’t bother me. Some people like to think more about their race as “their society” instead of their local community, state or country, but that seems like it should be a voluntary issue. I don’t think the fact that these clubs exist is necessarily evidence of racist motives. I appreciate your thoughts and discussion and wish I hadn’t taken such a sarcastic tone originally.

          • Ma1nguy1

            I fully understand where you’re coming from and agree. I’m also years older than you as I’m coming on 70 this year. First of all I’m angry not at White America but at those who use race as an excuse “to get even”. I’m of the drive by killings and black on black crime, this was not the trend during the turbulent 60s there was solidarity, today it doesn’t exist. You can be Black living in a Black neighborhood and be shot for nothing more than looking at someone in a way that appears to be “with disdain”. That mantra BLM to me means nothing if you’re not doing something constructive with your life……. wearing sagging pants and showcasing your drawers does not in anyway endear one to the Americans at large…. Career welfare recipients with a passel of out of wed lock babies by different fathers to me is an embarrassment to the Black race. They keep saying “BLM” yet why are so many young black men locked up? Choices, it is all about choices. My family was poor although we never lived in public housing we worked our way out and yes, there were sacrifices but it was worth it. There are no out of wedlock babies in our household.
            I never lived in a “Black community” and I’m too old to start now.

          • Noah Figg

            Yeah I agree with you too. I think you’re spot on the racism is sometimes an excuse to raise the self by putting down the other person irrationally. I’m lucky I’ve never know what hell it must be to live in neighborhoods where there is little sense of safety or civil society. I really hope some things can improve for people in these situations.