Jane Doe v. Beta Theta Pi and Wesleyan University
School Violence Law represented a college freshman who was raped at a fraternity house in federal lawsuit against the fraternity and college. The lawsuit was filed using a pseudonym – “Jane Doe” – to protect her confidentiality. Jane alleged that the fraternity had been the scene of a prior sexual assault and dangerous misconduct, and had developed, unknown to her at the time, a reputation for being a “rape factory.” During the semester preceding her enrollment, the university had warned students to stay away from the fraternity because their safety could not be ensured. Jane was not a student at the time and was unaware of the warning. The lawsuit was resolved prior to trial on confidential terms.
Chamberlin v. Psi Upsilon et al.
School Violence Law represented a college freshman who was raped during a pledge strip show at the Psi U fraternity house. In a federal lawsuit, Ms. Chamberlin alleged, among other things, that the fraternity chapter created a dangerous, unsupervised sexually charged environment in the fraternity house, causing her to be raped at the fraternity event as she was attempting to leave. The claims against the fraternity settled on confidential terms.
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Wesleyan University in Connecticut has ordered its residential fraternities to admit both men and women. Wesleyan Fraternities have three years to complete the transition. This policy change comes after a rash of injuries and assaults have recently plagued fraternity houses, including a recent fall from the Beta Theta Pi house that caused serious injuries to Summer Elbardissy.
Having represented two students seriously injured at Wesleyan fraternities before, including at Beta House, we are aware of the dangers. We hope this change fosters a safer environment for everyone involved.
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Our hearts go out to Summer Elbardissy and the entire Elbardissy family after she suffered injuries in a fall from the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house on Wesleyan University’s campus. Having represented two students seriously injured at Wesleyan fraternities before, including at Beta House, we are aware of the dangers. We are also very aware of the dangers posed by fraternities nationwide. The fraternities’ management paradigm is fundamentally flawed, and has resulted in countless student injuries and deaths. The failure by fraternities to reasonably address and resolve such issues is inexcusable and illegal. It is truly tragic that another fine young person and student has suffered a preventable injury. We wish Summer a full and speedy recovery.