One of the world’s oldest universities is embroiled in scandal after dozens of women alleged they were sexually assaulted or raped on its campus, with several claiming they were attacked by members of a controversial US-style fraternity.
The University of St Andrews in Scotland has said it will work with police to investigate scores of claims, made anonymously on an Instagram page entitled “St Andrews Survivors.”
The feed includes more than 20 allegations of rape, and several more allegations of sexual assault, physical assault and coercion by students at the prestigious university.
Many of the allegations centered on one fraternity, the St Andrews chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi – a popular US-based student group that has also faced several allegations and police investigations into sexual misconduct at some of its United States chapters.
The St Andrews-based branch of the frat has suspended several of its members following the allegations.
Students including Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge have attended St Andrews, which is the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world and regularly ranks near the top of global rankings of higher education facilities.
A spokesman for the institution said Monday that it had reached out to the owners of the Instagram page and offered its assistance to those making claims, including offers of counseling and help reporting claims to the university or police. CNN has contacted Police Scotland for comment.
He added that the university would introduce a compulsory orientation module for the upcoming academic year, focusing on consent.
“We welcome the ‘St Andrews Survivors’ account’s efforts to provide people of all genders a space to voice their experiences of sexual misconduct,” the university said in a statement. “The University’s primary concern is to ensure Survivors know that we are ready and willing to support their decisions and take action, facilitate Police reporting, and provide ongoing support accordingly.”
More allegations against Alpha Epsilon Pi
The university’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi has found itself facing particular scrutiny, after a number of alleged victims said members of the group attacked them.
Neither the St Andrews chapter nor the US-based national fraternity have responded to CNN’s requests for comment, but the former said in a July 3 statement: “We find the contents of these allegations abhorrent, and are taking them extremely seriously.”
The fraternity is not an official university society.
“The chapter immediately suspended members who acknowledged any role in the alleged incidents and entered them into Alpha Epsilon Pi’s expulsion process, which allows for thorough investigation,” it said, adding it would “conduct a review of our chapter leadership to hold them accountable for the actions of our members.”
Alpha Epsilon Pi is a global fraternity group with a predominantly Jewish membership and an extensive group of well-known alumni.
But the organization has faced allegations of sexual abuse and assault at other universities. The Penn State chapter of the fraternity was suspended by that university in January amid a police investigation into sexual assault allegations, and in February its former Temple University president Ari Goldstein was convicted on three counts for his role in an attempted sexual assault of another student.
A number of Instagram posts specifically accusing the St Andrews chapter were subsequently removed from the “St Andrews Survivors” page, but Alpha Epsilon Pi St Andrews said in a statement that it “had no involvement” in that move.
The university spokesman told CNN that St Andrews advised the creators of the page about the legal risks of specifically naming organizations in posts, but both the university and the account’s creators said the institution did not attempt to suppress the allegations.
US-style college fraternities are far less popular at UK universities, which usually favor societies funded by a students’ union, but some do have small chapters in Britain.