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UNL suspends Fiji through 2026 following reported sexual assault
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UNL suspends Fiji through 2026 following reported sexual assault

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Phi Gamma Delta fraternity Temporarily Closed, 8.25

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln said Aug. 24 it was closing the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house while an investigation into an alleged sexual assault takes place. On Tuesday, the university suspended the fraternity through 2026.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has suspended the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity through 2026 following a reported sexual assault that took place on the first day of classes this school year.

The suspension comes a little more than a year after Phi Gamma Delta, better known as Fiji, emerged from a three-year suspension that was handed down in 2017.

In a statement, UNL said the University Conduct Board determined violations of the Student Code of Conduct took place at the fraternity house, 1425 R St.

Just what violations of the code took place were not specified.

The suspension comes more than a month after a 17-year-old UNL student told UNL Police she was sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old member of the fraternity during the early morning hours of Aug. 24. 

The alleged assault was reported to campus police at 3:47 a.m. from Bryan East Campus hospital, where the 17-year-old was evaluated, police said. 

Around 18 hours later, protesters gathered outside the fraternity house near 14th and R streets for the first of four consecutive nights of demonstrations that brought chants, marches and calls for Fiji's abolition.

The next day, UNL temporarily suspended the fraternity, which was already on probation for previous violations of university policy.

The accused student has not been charged with any crime in Lancaster County. The campus police investigation into the alleged assault is still listed as "open" and is ongoing, the university said.

After the first two nights of protests were marked by hours of intense, vulgar call-and-response chants that directly targeted both the accused and his fraternity, the third night of protests saw a shift in tone that placed an emphasis on survivors and continued calls for a broader cultural reckoning.

In all, protesters gathered five times over the course of seven days, prompting scrutiny of the UNL Police Department's investigatory track record and a wave of activism that stretched to college campuses across the country. 

The demonstrations also seemed to prompt action from UNL administrators. 

Eight days after protesters first descended on the Fiji house, Green announced sweeping changes that included altering the university's sexual assault prevention training and furthering investment into support programs for survivors. 

The efforts, which Green referred to as "first steps" when he introduced them at a student government meeting on Sept. 1, were largely applauded by student leaders and survivors of sexual assault. 

"It's always gonna feel like it's not enough," said Patrick Baker, the external vice president of student government at UNL and a member of Greek life. 

"But we were really quite impressed with what (Green has) done," he said. "We recognize within ASUN that the chancellor is not able to just abolish Fiji essentially with one strike of a gavel, or something. But we do recognize that he can provide more funding to CARE and other organizations on campus."

The promised changes seemed to quell demonstrators, who had vowed to continue protesting "every night until they move the letters — letter for letter — off this house," said Dominique Liu-Sang, who led several of the demonstrations.

Hours before the chancellor introduced the changes, protesters canceled a scheduled sit-in and announced a two-week hiatus from in-person demonstrations that was set to end Sept. 15.

No further gatherings took place that day or any days since, however.

This is a developing story. Return to JournalStar.com for updates.

 

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