Penn State

Protesters march to Kappa Delta Rho, demand action, accountability

CDT photo

The shouts rang from Penn State’s front gates at Allen Street, down College Avenue, up Garner Street and down Prospect Avenue as a crowd of protesters marched to stand in front of Kappa Delta Rho and demand action.

“We are...” came one half of the Nittany Lion faithful’s traditional war cry. But “Penn State” wasn’t the answer.

“Not safe!” the crowd shouted in reply.

In the wake of last week’s bombshell announcement that the fraternity was being investigated by State College police in connection with a secret Facebook page that documented possible criminal activity, including exploitation of unconscious women, hazing and drugs, multiple protests have been staged, all calling for something to happen.

The chapter has been disciplined by the Interfraternity Council and KDR’s national organization, both of which have suspended them.

That is not enough for the protesters, who want much more.

“Revoke KDR’s charter” read one side of local Keith Silliman’s cardboard sign. “Shut them down” read the other.

Ask him why he feels so strongly and he gives a small shake of his head.

“I am sort of surprised more people don’t feel as strongly,” he said.

He knows that investigations are continuing, but doesn’t think that should preclude the university stepping up to take a strong stand against the fraternity or its members now.

“It’s the fraternity culture. You know it’s happening,” Silliman said.

The protesters came from all walks of life. There were students and residents, young and old, women and men. Deniz Senyurt, a senior studying neuroscience, came with his friend Shalem Sine, a junior in the same field, to show solidarity.

“Males should be here as well,” he said, holding a sign that said “Stand together against rape culture.”

“To be a male, you support what is right,” he said.

For some, such as junior English major Carter Clabaugh, the demonstration was important to give voice to the victims, who she thinks are less likely to protest themselves.

“I can be here for them so I will be,” she said.

As the protesters took up their spot in front of the fraternity, more crowds gathered. Some were brothers from other fraternities.

“It definitely sheds a bad light,” said Ronen Kadesh, of Beta Sigma Beta.

He thought the people chanting “Tear it down!” was a bit excessive, but he isn’t happy about how his school and the fraternity system is being affected by the actions of KDR.

“It’s a shame. This isn’t Greek life,” he said. He and several of his brothers wore Thon sweatshirts as they stood nearby. Thon is arguably the best advertisement for fraternities and sororities at Penn State, a student-run charity that raised more than $13 million in February to support pediatric cancer treatment.

Brothers at other fraternities watched from lawns and nearby houses. Some catcalled the KDR members, while others made comments to the protesters but wouldn’t repeat them when asked by the press. At KDR, some watched brazenly, cups in hand, from a small patio near the door, chuckling at times. Others peered from behind an opaque window on the ground floor or out of an open one on the second story.

“Yo, yo, yo! Off the lawn!” one brother called at protesters who stepped off the sidewalk.

One local woman, walking her dog past the protest, shook her head at the idea of tearing down the building.

“Don’t do that,” she said. “Turn it into a rape crisis center.”