Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of California-San Diego is under fire after pledges of the fraternity requested that female students take topless photos with the phrase “Rush SAE” written on their breasts.
Rachel Friedman, a sophomore at UCSD, uploaded a screenshot of her conversation with an SAE member to her Facebook page and reportedly shared it with media outlets.
“Lol funny story, so I’m in a frat now and we have to get ‘rush boobs,'” the Facebook message read. “If you or any of your friends can help me out I would really appreciate it. I don’t need faces I just need topless pics with ‘Rush SAE’ written on their chests.”
When the SAE member saw her Facebook post, he asked her to take it down, but she refused.
“Rush boobs: I hadn’t heard about that until today, but it’s apparently something other girls have been asked to do for all different types of frats,” Friedman told nbcbayarea.com (NBC7). “It is common practice and goes along with the rape culture.”
“Rush Boobs” pictures can be seen on Total Frat Move, a website consisting of articles about fraternity life.
The members have since been suspended, and the chapter responded to the incident on Facebook:
“Besides these few individuals, our chapter as a whole was not aware and did not have a part in this degrading action. Our chapter and Sigma Alpha Epsilon as an organization does not condone objectifying women or the degradation of others for that matter. We believe in equality and respect for all individuals and are working with UCSD and our national organization to ensure that proper action is taken for this incident.”
The fraternity also wrote that it’s “individually contacted each of the women affected by our member’s actions, apologizing and inviting them to approach us with any further questions or concerns.”
The national organization released a statement to NBC7, saying that this behavior is not tolerated.
“The Sigma Alpha Epsilon headquarters is aware of the completely inappropriate and unacceptable requests by one of our new members. The national organization and its leaders do not tolerate behavior of this kind, nor is it part of any activity or expectation by the fraternity. Our membership experience is based on concepts that promote the development of brothers — and not on the kind of immature behavior that stereotypes the Greek-letter community. We have learned that the chapter officers of UCSD moved swiftly to suspend the members responsible for this incident, which we applaud.”
The national fraternity declared that it will investigate the incident’s details, and may give extra consequences to the fraternity or its members.