Ex-Ga. Tech frat pledge says 'rape bait' letter was a joke

Georgia Tech fraternity suspends member for ‘rapebait’ email

No one knows what a Georgia Tech student was thinking when he sent an email to his fraternity brothers, offering advice for “luring rapebait” at parties. If it was supposed to be a joke, it wasn’t funny.

But students, graduates, the institute and the national fraternity office all agreed on one thing: It was embarrassing and derogatory, bringing unflattering attention to the university.

The email has been under investigation since Sept. 18, when the university received a copy of it, a Tech spokesman said Tuesday. The Phi Kappa Tau fraternity then placed itself on probation and suspended the member accused of sending an email with instructions for “hooking up” with females.

“The referenced email is extremely inappropriate and does not reflect the values of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, Alpha Rho chapter or Georgia Institute of Technology,” the Phi Kappa Tau national office said in a statement released Tuesday to The AJC. “Currently, Phi Kappa Tau Executive Offices staff, Institute officials, local board of alumni advisors and the regional director are working with chapter leadership to bring this matter to a swift resolution.”

The Phi Kappa Tau chapter at Tech has been under investigation since before the contents of the email were publicized, Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson confirmed Tuesday in Milledgeville, where the state Board of Regents met for a regularly scheduled meeting.

But the story quickly went viral Monday when several online sites published the undergraduate’s email, which offered tips for approaching female students, starting conversation and dancing.

“If you are talking to a brother of your pledge brothers when there are girls just standing around, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!!!” the email states.

The email’s explicit, step-by-step directions for engaging in sexual activity with the help of alcohol are under scrutiny, the university said in a statement released to The AJC.

“Georgia Tech is aware of this incident, and its Office of Student Integrity is currently engaged in an investigation to determine the facts,” the university said. “Phi Kappa Tau’s national office, as well as Tech’s student-led Interfraternity Council, are also reviewing the matter to determine whether to take any independent action. The Institute does not condone this type of behavior and continues to provide resources and education designed to create a supportive campus environment for all students, even those who exercise extremely poor judgment.”

Peterson confirmed Tuesday that the email should not have been sent and that steps are in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

But since the email was sent, and published online, it was a cause of embarrassment for alumni and students, including Matthew Nelson, a freshman from New York.

“What is important is that those lapses in judgement are not reflected by the overall student body,” Nelson said. “The poor decisions by the few will be overcome by the strong, positive actions of the rest of us.”

It was not known Tuesday if the local chapter could face any disciplinary action. The Tech chapter was chartered in 1929.

— Staff writer Kristina Torres contributed to this report.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.