A group of about 15 students at the University of Pennsylvania plastered hundreds of fliers on campus in protest of an email that went out to several female freshmen.
The August 31 email, which was sent to an undisclosed list of recipients with "Wild Wednesday" as the subject line, was addressed to "ladies."
The email, written in the format of a poem, invited women to a party and encouraged them to drink Natty Light and to "please wear something tight."
It is unclear how many freshmen received the invitation for the party to be held Wednesday night at the OZ house — an off-campus fraternity, which is not recognized by the university.
Amanda Silberling, a UPenn junior, and some of her friends saw the email and discussed how they believe it perpetuated rape culture and exemplified how women on campus are often treated.
Together, they decided to collectively take action by designing, printing, and distributing flyers around campus.
Silberling and her friends distributed approximately 600 flyers of the email with the phrase "this is what rape culture looks like" printed over it, across the Philadelphia campus Monday night. On Tuesday, the students plastered more flyers on campus, including on the school's iconic "LOVE" sculpture.
"Keeping women on college campuses safe is an issue that stretches beyond Penn and Philly," Silberling told BuzzFeed News. "It's an issue active on college campuses everywhere."
Silberling said some of the flyers have been taken down from public places, but the ones posted on bulletin boards in dorm buildings and on poles around campus are still there.
Silberling told BuzzFeed News she wants to keep the conversation sparked by this email — which was first reported by The Daily Pennsylvanian, UPenn's student newspaper — alive.
"The email wasn't an isolated incident," she said. "We want to try to keep printing more flyers with other instances that show how rape culture is normalized on campus."
In an email statement, the university condemned the email and praised the students for the flyers.
"The text of the email was offensive and has no place at Penn," the statement read. "As the University has made clear in its policies and protocols, sexual harassment and sexual assault are unacceptable and will not be tolerated on campus. Challenging offensive speech, as these students did, is important and wholly consistent with the University’s ongoing efforts and the national conversation about preventing and responding to sexual misconduct."
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, the university's Interfraternity Council denounced the sentiments of the email and said OZ members and their actions are not representative of the views of the IFC.
"We categorically denounce the behavior this email so brazenly perpetuates,” David Moore, president of the IFC said in a statement. “Sexual objectification, nonconsensual contact, and harassment in any form are not tolerated by the IFC.”
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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