NASHVILLE — Vanderbilt University has suspended a fraternity for a rush-related e-mail making light of an ongoing rape case at the university.
The profanity-laced and sexually charged e-mail was sent out Sept. 22 to prospective members of Alpha Tau Omega and was eventually brought to the university's attention. The university — and Alpha Tau Omega's national office — suspended the Vanderbilt chapter Oct. 3.
"The suspension prohibits all ATO activities, including new member education activities," said Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs at the university, in an e-mail. "The action was taken because of offensive content throughout the message as well as allegations of multiple violations of university and Interfraternity Council policies."
Vanderbilt University declined to identify the student who sent the e-mail because of privacy rules. The student also was suspended from the fraternity.
The explicit e-mail described a debauched, alcohol-fueled fraternity-sorority party and went on to list upcoming events, including a football-viewing party.
"This will be a rape-free event, I promise," the e-mail read. "Football is safe again."
The university called the e-mail shocking.
"It conveys a message that is reprehensible in its disrespect for women and is not representative of the Vanderbilt University student body or the values that we uphold as a community," Fortune wrote.
Four former Vanderbilt football players — Brandon Vandenburg, 20, from Indio, Calif.; Cory Batey, 19, of Nashville; Brandon Eric Banks, 19, from Brandywine, Md.; and Jaborian McKenzie, 18, from Woodville, Miss. — are each charged with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery in connection with the June 23 rape of an underage student in a dormitory. Vandenburg also is charged with one count of unlawful photography and tampering with evidence.
The four are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for a hearing in the case