Frat suspended for "Who would you rape?" survey

The Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at the University of Vermont is seen Dec. 14, 2011, in Burlington, Vt. AP Photo

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The University of Vermont has suspended a fraternity after obtaining a questionnaire from the Greek house that asked members who they'd like to rape, CBS News affiliate WCAX-TV in Burlington reports.

The school is investigating and has notified police. Women's groups are pushing for the fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon, to be permanently banned from campus.

The survey starts with typical questions: name, major, favorite memories. But the final question drew the eye of administrators: "If I could rape someone, who would it be?"

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Officials told The Associated Press that a student brought the survey to the university's attention last weekend. Administrators called the survey "highly offensive."

"That causes great concern to us about what's the purpose of that kind of question," said Annie Stevens, who oversees student and campus life, which includes Greek life, an option that suits about 8 percent of students on campus.

The fraternity was already on social probation for alcohol violations. Now both the school and national fraternity have told the brothers they must cease all operations.

"They can still live in the house, but no chapter activities can take place," Stevens said.

The national fraternity released a statement that reads in part: "Any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated by the fraternity."

Students living at the fraternity said they'd been instructed not to speak to reporters.

Students on campus said they're appalled.

"I am greatly offended by what they said," said freshman Meredith Knowles. "Someone very close to me was actually raped, and so it hits really close to home."

"The suspension is fairly just," said freshman Peter Schonning. "I mean, there is the First Amendment and all, but I think that's definitely going outside the lines."

"It should be just as bad as hazing; it's just as harmful," said junior Sonia David. "There are a lot of people who have experienced sexual violence, on campus and elsewhere, and it's just really disrespectful."

Women's groups on campus have already received nearly 1,000 signatures on a petition to get rid of the fraternity. They also plan to hold a rally Thursday.

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