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Vermont fraternity chapter closed over rape survey

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:33 AM EST, Sat December 17, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The local chapter of the fraternity is closed indefinitely, officials say
  • The survey is "deplorable and absolutely inconsistent with our values," national fraternity leader says
  • University of Vermont officials said they "respect and support" the decision

(CNN) -- The University of Vermont's chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity has been closed after a survey surfaced online asking fraternity brothers whom they would rape.

The national Sigma Phi Epsilon organization said it is "indefinitely closing the chapter."

"Without suggesting that every member had knowledge of this questionnaire, the questions asked in the document are deplorable and absolutely inconsistent with our values," Brian Warren, the fraternity's executive director, said in a statement.

University of Vermont officials said they "respect and support" the decision.

"From the beginning of this unfortunate situation, the national representatives of Sigma Phi Epsilon have been thorough, respectful and very serious in investigating this matter," UVM Interim President John Bramley and Provost Jane E. Knodell said in a statement.

The university said its investigation into the matter will continue and will likely take several weeks to conclude.

"We will gather all relevant information and examine it to determine whether policies or laws have been violated, and by whom," the UVM statement said.

"We hope that this will present an opportunity for productive interaction, respectful dialogue, and learning about sexual violence and rape culture and the causes underlying them."

The national fraternity said it will collaborate with the university "to consider the potential return to UVM at the appropriate time, which would occur only by mutual agreement."

It added that "any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated by the fraternity."

"SigEp will strengthen its efforts to provide college men with education focused on respect for women and the development of healthy inter-personal relationships," Warren said.

CNN's Marina Landis contributed to this report.

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