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Vermont fraternity suspended over rape survey

By Marina Landis, CNN
updated 5:19 PM EST, Thu December 15, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Leadership from Sigma Phi Epsilon met with the university Wednesday
  • "It is technically free speech, and yet it is deplorable," a school official says
  • The national office of the fraternity says it is investigating the incident

(CNN) -- The University of Vermont's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is under investigation after a survey surfaced online asking fraternity brothers whom they would rape.

The national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization said in a statement that "the fraternity has instructed the chapter to cease all operations, pending further investigation." It added that "any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated by the fraternity."

Leadership from the fraternity's national office was in Burlington on Wednesday, working with university administrators to look into the survey, which was discovered this week, CNN affiliate WCAX reported.

"We want to make sure that any individuals that were responsible for that document or any other faults are held accountable," Tyler Boggess of Sigma Phi Epsilon told the affiliate.

"It is technically free speech, and yet it is deplorable and just absolutely inappropriate and offensive," Annie Stevens, associate vice president for student and campus life, told the affiliate. "It may be in this instance where there's a dynamic of only a few knew about this, we don't know that yet, or did the whole chapter know? ... Those are the kinds of questions that we have."

This year, the fraternity was placed on probation for serving alcohol to underage students at an off-campus house, Stevens added.

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WCAX.

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