Two weeks ago, during a party at Johns Hopkins University's Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a bathroom by two men. University administrators responded by sending out a letter temporarily suspending all social events held by fraternities and sororities. Now, hundreds of copies of a peeved anonymous letter, apparently written by a fan of the Greek life, have been posted around the school, calling the decision to suspend the parties "rash and repugnant." Let's all use this as an example of how not to react when someone cancels your parties due to rape, shall we?

A little background: according to the Baltimore Sun, neither the 16-year-old victim nor the alleged perpetrators of the rape are believed to be associated with Johns Hopkins. Sigma Alpha Epsilon has been placed on "interim suspension" while the rape is investigated, meaning they can't hold organized activities, but haven't been asked to move out of their house.

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But the school is still dealing with the fallout of an internal investigation that showed that they failed to tell the student body about a drug-facilitated gang rape that happened at another frat house, Pi Kappa Alpha, in March of 2013. An embarrassing email thread previously published on Jezebel among campus administrators showed them debating whether to say anything about the gang rape and deciding, meh, better not. Dennis O'Shea, executive director of communications and the university's "crisis management" director, wrote, in part, "My concern is the criticism we will take for not acting (and for not already having acted) if we acknowledge that there are allegations out there."

Johns Hopkins is already one of the 76 schools being investigated by U.S. Department of Education for allegedly mishandling rape allegations. In truth, cancelling frat parties in the wake of yet another sexual assault is probably the least they could do. The letter to the student body, which we received from a tipster and which we've reprinted in full below, is pretty gentle. Three high-ranking school administrators write: "The alleged sexual assault of a visitor at a fraternity party two weekends ago demonstrated starkly that our community needs to spend some time thinking about how we can accelerate our ongoing efforts to address issues of sexual violence and alcohol abuse at Johns Hopkins." They add:

We recognize that the decision to postpone social events pending an implementation plan has disappointed members of the student body and reduced opportunities to relax and socialize together this past weekend. But we also know that there is broad consensus in our community that we have serious issues that must be addressed, and in the Johns Hopkins way: openly; fearlessly; with respect for evidence-based best practices; and, above all, with the welfare of our students, guests and entire community as our first concern.

In response, according to a Reddit thread for JHU students, someone posted "hundreds of these flyers all over campus." Behold:

The flyer begins "Life at Hopkins is royally fucked." It adds: "Depriving you of revered traditions, like The Administration attempted to with Beer Garden, is a rash and repugnant decision. Additionally, the attack on the Greek system as a whole for the actions of a few individuals is unjust."

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The flyer also says that Greek parties are a way for everyone to deal with the crushing stress of going to Johns Hopkins: "[U]nreasonable stress demands a support system that can combat mental health issues. Academic stress at Hopkins is a reason for binge drinking."

The letter ends, "Cease your apathy. This concerns all of us." It's signed DCG 76, apparently a reference to Daniel Coit Gilman, JHU's first president.

There's a deep and breathtaking stupidity in referring to a beer garden as a "revered tradition" and binge drinking at a frat party as a "support system that can combat mental health issues." We could chalk it up to the anonymous letter writer's particular brand of denseness, but elsewhere on campus, the same basic argument is being made, albeit in a slightly more intelligent way. In an editorial, P. Nash Jenkins, a senior, calls the ban on frat parties "a shortsighted move that penalizes and intimidates the hundreds of innocent students who simply want to enjoy their weekends," adding. "It is the latest in a series of malicious subterfuges carefully employed by university administrators to excuse themselves from any suspicion of the harsh truth: that they have willingly ignored (and in turn enabled) the crisis of sexual violence on campus."

Jenkins argues that the real issue is rape culture, not "collegiate drunkenness." While we can't disagree on that front, for Johns Hopkins to not suspend campus parties at this point would be deeply irresponsible. The petty, wounded reaction from some JHU students is pretty disappointing.

Here's the full letter from the Johns Hopkins administrators, as we received it:

Dear Students:

As a community, we are all dedicated to making Johns Hopkins a better, stronger and safer place. Right now, we are at a point where making the kind of progress we all seek requires taking a breath and putting things in perspective. The alleged sexual assault of a visitor at a fraternity party two weekends ago demonstrated starkly that our community needs to spend some time thinking about how we can accelerate our ongoing efforts to address issues of sexual violence and alcohol abuse at Johns Hopkins.

As you know, the university has directed member organizations of the Interfraternity Council not to hold social events pending completion of an interim plan to make parties safer for our students and our guests. Today, we want to share with you directly why this action was taken.

We want to be clear that the university deeply appreciates the IFC's work last week to adopt interim measures for controlling social activities sponsored by member chapters. The IFC voted unanimously to require that there be no open fraternity parties for the rest of the semester and to mandate the use of party monitors. This was a commendable step, and we in the administration thank the IFC and its leaders for taking it.

We were encouraged by the IFC's speedy deliberation and adoption of these good-faith procedures. We also recognized, however, that in order for these measures to be effective and consistent, we need to work together on an implementation plan. There needs to be agreement, for instance, on the standards for party monitors to enforce and on training for the monitors themselves.

The university thus informed the IFC last Thursday night that we would immediately convene an implementation team to address outstanding issues and put the proposed measures in place. We believe an implementation plan can be prepared expeditiously, and we are committed to resuming social activities as soon as possible.

We also will press ahead with the work of various university and student groups that have been meeting on issues of alcohol abuse, sexual violence and campus life. One of those groups, the Alcohol Strategy Group and its Student Subcommittee, has been on track to provide early next yearrecommendations on ways to reduce harmful drinking. An area of focus is new and improved party procedures for all student groups. The IFC initiatives and implementation plan that we are developing now for the balance of this semester should be seen as interim measures, which we will learn from and reflect upon moving forward.

We recognize that the decision to postpone social events pending an implementation plan has disappointed members of the student body and reduced opportunities to relax and socialize together this past weekend. But we also know that there is broad consensus in our community that we have serious issues that must be addressed, and in the Johns Hopkins way: openly; fearlessly; with respect for evidence-based best practices; and, above all, with the welfare of our students, guests and entire community as our first concern.

We are proud to be a part of the Johns Hopkins community, and we know that you all share in that pride. Reflective of that, we hope that you will continue to join with us in making Johns Hopkins the best university it can be.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Lieberman

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Kevin G. Shollenberger

Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Terry Martinez

Assistant Vice Provost/Dean of Students

Image via Flickr/Danzan