Pennsylvania's Bucknell University is investigating after students who live at an on-campus LGBTQ house said a group of male students they believed were former fraternity brothers tried to break in Thursday night.
In a letter to the university's president, John Bravman, student Tyler Luong, residential adviser for the LGBTQ home known as Fran’s House, said nearly 20 former members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity yelled, "Let us in," "This isn't your home,” and “This is our home” as they banged on the windows and doors, swung a metal bar at the pole that displays their pride flag, exposed themselves, and urinated on the front porch.
“Tell me President Bravman, what would I do if they had managed to get into our home?” asked Luong. “President Bravman, I was never trained to handle breaking and enterings.”
Fran’s House is the center of student life for the university’s LGBTQ community. Currently located at Tower House, it previously housed the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity until the group was removed two years ago.
In 2019, a campus investigation into hazing allegations found that the fraternity slapped and threw darts at members and even used “dog shock collars” on them, according to a report. The organization is no longer recognized by the university.
Bucknell is a small private liberal arts college in Lewisburg.
When members of the campus public safety department arrived, Luong said, the officers “laughed at the situation,” didn’t ask residents if they were OK, and told the men that they would speak to the chief about getting them access to the house.
“Is it within the policy for Public Safety to completely ignore the ones who reported the crime?” Luong asked.
Luong declined to be interviewed by BuzzFeed News, saying the Fran’s House community needed to rest and recover after the incident. Luong first shared the letter with the Daily Item newspaper.
In a campus-wide letter, Bravman and other administrators condemned the incident, which they described as “horrific.” They said the university had retained outside firms to investigate the event and the response from the campus public safety officers.
The letter said that it was clear “from multiple accounts” that the students had “violated the physical space and, far more importantly, the residents’ sense of place and security.”
“We are gravely concerned about these potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct,” the letter read. “Based on the findings of this external review, appropriate consequences for the students' behavior will be swiftly determined and implemented.”
Another student wrote in an Instagram post that they “always felt relatively safe being an out queer person” at Bucknell, but Thursday night’s attack made them feel “incredibly unsafe.”
“The men who committed a literal crime took away the one place on this campus where LGBTQ+ students feel safe, and were not held accountable in the slightest,” the student said. “No one deserves to feel unsafe in their home, but especially not the community whose previous house was torn down by the university and then were left with nothing.”
The student added, “Bucknell needs to do better at supporting their LGBTQ+ students.”
When the previous Fran’s House building was demolished a few years ago, residents raised concerns about the university’s efforts to find them a new home, alleging in a letter in the student newspaper that had they been a Greek organization, “the issue would have likely have already been resolved.”
In a letter to the university community on Saturday, Fran's House residents called for the individuals involved in the incident as wells at the campus officers who responded be held accountable, saying "what happened to this house is abhorrent."
"Appropriate actions must be taken by the Bucknell Administration to ensure nothing like this will ever happen again," the residents said. "As students, we must also recognize the importance of holding each other accountable and the unequal opportunities that exist for affinity houses to influence Bucknell’s social culture, so that feelings of discrimination and hate are not enabled within our student body."