May 14, 2021: Response to Fran’s House Incident
We write to acknowledge and condemn a horrific incident that occurred last night at Tower House, the Fran's House affinity residence and center of student life for our LGBTQ student community, and to state our unequivocal support for all LGBTQ Bucknellians. We are both outraged and sorrowful that the residents endured this violation of the space that is so critically important to them as a community. These actions will not be tolerated.
As reported to Public Safety, a group of male students approached the house, which formerly housed the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity until that group's removal two years ago. In the events that ensued, these men allegedly harassed and intimidated the residents of Tower House while attempting to enter the building. We note that TKE does not formally exist at the University, is no longer a recognized student organization, and is banned from campus operations. It is clear from multiple accounts that the students violated the physical space and, far more importantly, the residents' sense of place and security. Further, it is equally clear that Bucknell Public Safety's response to the incident was lacking in myriad ways.
We are gravely concerned about these potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct. In response, the University has retained an outside firm to conduct an immediate investigation of these actions and submit a full report to Bucknell administration as soon as possible. Based on the findings of this external review, appropriate consequences for the students' behavior will be swiftly determined and implemented.
We have also engaged an outside firm to immediately investigate Public Safety's response and will implement corrective and disciplinary measures as appropriate. Additionally, we will implement additional educational and professional development for Public Safety officers to foster a better sense of safety and belonging for all members of the Bucknell community.
Many in our community have come together to offer support to the residents of Tower House. This support includes counseling and academic support that may be necessary during finals week. We will also be continuing conversations with Fran's House affinity group students about their future housing needs, and working to identify and designate a permanent residence for members of our LGBTQ community.
We cannot erase the ugliness and subsequent trauma of last night's transgression against the students of Fran's House and, implicitly, many others, but we can commit to addressing it in a way that protects LGBTQ Bucknellians and better ensures their safety in the future. Please join us in supporting them now, and please look for announcements of community events and educational opportunities when we reconvene on campus this fall.
Associate Provost for Equity & Inclusive Excellence