Following an incident Saturday in which students disrupted a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” at the Brink Lounge, officials from the University of Wisconsin are looking into any possible code of conduct violations.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported Thursday that actors asked members of the UW chapter of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority to issue a public apology for their actions.
However, Eric Knueve, assistant dean and director of the Center for Leadership and Involvement, said he could not confirm that it was members of Kappa Alpha Theta who were involved in the disturbance.
The disturbance occurred toward the end of the performance, according to cast member Abigail Gage. She said the incident occurred after actors finished reading a poem called “Rising” that promotes awareness that one in three women is raped or beaten in their lifetime.
After the poem, Gage said cast members who feel comfortable sharing would then step forward to talk about their personal assault stories.
“As I am standing, waiting to go out on stage and tell my story about being assaulted when I was nine years old, people started banging on the windows,” Gage said. “It was a very jarring experience.”
Gage said she sent an email to Kappa Alpha Theta’s president to describe her personal assault story and also ask for a public apology. She said she received an “apologetic” email in return.
A public apology is needed, Gage said, for the cast and the audience that came to see and be moved by the production. She said the show included a dozen performers and an audience of 60 to 70 people.
“I wanted them to be able to hear it,” Gage said. “I felt that the disruption merited an apology to everyone who was subjected in this incident.”
However, Gage added her demand for a public apology did not in any way come from a desire to openly shame the sorority. She said she hopes it does not cause major fallout because she does not believe anyone should be shunned, shamed or terminated from the Greek establishment.
“For whatever reason, they apparently wanted attention and they obviously don’t know how to go about getting it in a positive way,” Gage said. “So honestly what they need is support and education not shaming or shunning…that’s what I hope comes out of it [the investigation], I hope people support them.”
In stressing how positive “The Vagina Monologues” are, Gage said she would also like to stress the positive message and code of the sorority involved.
In an email to The Badger Herald, Liz Rinck, a national spokesperson for the sorority, declined to comment for the reason that both Kappa Alpha Theta and the university are investing the allegations.
The university’s investigation is ongoing, according to Knueve. He said it is likely that the results will not come to fruition until next fall because the center will suspend its processes at the end of the school year.
Speaking in general terms of the university code of conduct, Knueve said in any case of violation, sanctions can range from a warning letter, probation of a certain length, suspension or termination.
“Obviously we cannot speculate,” Knueve said. “Even if [it is a] violation, we cannot confirm the committees decision.”
To recognize April as sexual assault awareness month, 90 percent of the proceeds from production of “The Vagina Monologues” went to UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence, a nonprofit organization that provides resources for women who survived domestic violence, according to Gage.