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UW frat members say trespassing had been problem prior to encounter

UW frat members say trespassing had been problem prior to encounter

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Delta Upsilon fraternity members said they'd had a problem with trespassers prior to an encounter with two black, female students that resulted in a two-year suspension for the UW-Madison fraternity.

According to an evidence packet released Friday morning, two members said they'd found heroin syringes on the property, 644 N. Frances St., and a Bose speaker had been stolen that night. The fraternity members were not named in the documents.

On Thursday, UW-Madison announced the suspension of Delta Upsilon for taunting the two students. The Committee on Student Organizations found that the timing of the incident — which came on the heels of an alcohol-related probation — to be "extremely alarming," according to a report.

The committee's report was released Thursday but the evidence packet wasn't released until Friday.

According to a letter from one of the women, she and a friend decided to take a walk to the lake in the early morning of March 16 and unintentionally walked on the fraternity's property. The members told the women to get off their property.

At least one of the members asked them, "how did it feel to be peasants?" and "How did it feel to be poor," the letter said. The members also told the women that they were among the one percent of the rich and the women should leave. Someone threw a bottle, according to the woman.

The woman wrote that a young man walked toward them and apologized for the behavior.

Two fraternity members said the bottle broke accidentally, according to the evidence packet. The Committee on Student Organizations, which is made up of students, staff and faculty, found "no substantiating evidence" to suggest that the bottle-thrower was aiming to hit the two women.

Originally the university said the fraternity members used racial slurs in addressing the women, but the committee said it could not corroborate that allegation.

Asked about the culture at Delta Upsilon fraternity, a Madison police officer told the committee that "there needs to be at least a membership purge of the entire fraternity."

Officer Grant Humerickhouse said in the testimony that he talked with the fraternity members three times and they "just don't get it."

"DU has done absolutely nothing to better themselves and this latest incident only shows that there is a problem," he said. "I cannot speak to everyone in that house, but they clearly want to party."

National and local fraternity leaders have not responded to requests for comment. The fraternity can appeal the suspension to the Dean of Students Office.

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Related to this story

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A UW-Madison free speech expert is questioning whether the university had the evidence to suspend a school fraternity for two years. Donald Downs, a UW-Madison political science professor, said he is reviewing the case with the Committee for Academic Freedom and Rights.

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