MSU Fraternity Member Expelled, Sorority Member Threatened For Defending Sexually Harassed Student
A member of Kappa Sigma has been expelled from the fraternity and a member of Sigma Kappa has been threatened with expulsion for speaking out against the sexual harassment of another Midwestern State University student.
Avery Whaite, a Mass Comm senior, told The Wichitan that he had been expelled from the Kappa Sigma fraternity for defending a female student who had been sexually harassed by other members of the fraternity. Whaite said that a video was sent to the Kappa Sigma GroupMe, and members of the fraternity began making inappropriate comments. Whaite was reportedly removed from the discussion after voicing disagreement with the way the members were acting. Whaite followed up the incident by speaking with Nick Gallicchio, district grand master of Kappa Sigma, to prevent the situation from escalating. Afterwar, Whaite was expelled from the fraternity,
They said I was slandering them, that I was sworn to secrecy, but when it comes to someone’s mental health and well-being, I’m not sworn to secrecy. This was not fraternal business. This is something that could get a fraternity in a lot of trouble, especially in these days.
I did something that I thought was right, and I get expelled for a reason that is quite ridiculous. I really believe I did the right thing, and I stand by what I did. I don’t regret what I did. I can stand in a mirror and be proud of what I did. But I don’t think the people in Kappa Sigma recognize that.
Kappa Sigma also posted a tweet earlier in the week about Sexual Harassment awareness, which was called out my Sigma Kappa member Jessica Wollenberger,
After tweeting her response, Wollenberger says she was contacted by several members of the sorority, including the president, asking her take the tweet down,
I knew it wouldn’t go unnoticed. I wouldn’t have tweeted it if I didn’t want people to see it. I am fully aware that when you are in an organization, you are a representative of that organization 24/7. I am a Sigma Kappa, so that does reflect on me. However, I feel it’s not our place to say we can’t speak out against sexual harassment.
Wollenberger was also contacted by Janet Hallum, Sigma Kappa Gamma Tau chapter adviser, and asked to take the tweet down as it was causing problems. Hallum, who was recorded during her phone call with Wollenberger, said,
I just hope this doesn’t blow up because it’s blowing up now it sounds like. It sounds like you’re adding fuel to the fire. If you got your sisters upset, which you do, I don’t get why you couldn’t protect the feelings of your sisters. And yeah, you’re going to be gone in a week, but they’re not. We’re going to have to deal with the fall out, not you.
Sometimes it best to be silent on an issue. Sometimes it’s best not to stick your nose in other people’s business when you’re hurting other people. I would rather things be handled quietly and internally rather than publicly.
Hallum was recorded because Wollenberger received the call during a recorded interview. Cortney Wood of The Wichitan contacted Hallum to inform her that she had been recorded, but Hallum did not respond.
Hallum also threatened Wollenberger with expulsion from the sorority for the tweet,
Do you want to get expelled? Because I’ve already heard talk about that. I don’t mean to throw out threats, but the only concern is that you do represent Sigma Kappa, and we just need to make sure that it is Jessica talking and not Sigma Kappa talking.
Wollenberger told Hallum that she was willing to be expelled for standing up for what she believes in, calling it pathetic if she is expelled.
Dylan Huff, Kappa Sigma president and Gavin Ritchie, Kappa Sigma scribe, could not be reached for comment, while both Janet Hallum and Nick Gallicchio declined to comment.
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