Texas Tech students protest against 'rape culture'

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A group of Texas Tech University students on Wednesday protested what they say is a "rape culture" on campus with demonstrations that involved laying bed sheets spray-painted with the message "no means no" at three locations.

The women's actions came a day after university officials sent an email to students and faculty that called activities at a recent off-campus fraternity party "reprehensible."

Pictures taken at a Sept. 20 Phi Delta Theta fraternity party that were posted briefly online showed a banner that read, "No means yes, yes means anal (sex)." Another image from the same off-campus party showed a sprinkler attached to a large cutout shaped like a woman's spread legs.

University spokesman Chris Cook said the school learned of the banner and the cutout the day after the party and began investigating immediately. Last week, the university established a task force to review Greek organizations. The national headquarters of the fraternity has since suspended the chapter indefinitely.

The bed sheets displayed Wednesday were placed on the school's seal, a statue of Will Rogers and an academic building. Two women who put them up also posted letter-sized paper signs addressing the signs at the fraternity party that in part read, "We denounce these acts inciting rape and propping up rape culture at our university."

The bed sheets and paper signs were removed by police after about 30 minutes.

Cook, in an emailed statement, said the university supports free speech rights but there are policies against hanging signs on buildings and public art.

Regan Elder, a student who was part of the demonstrations, called the environment on campus "unsafe," pointing to a female student's alleged sexual assault in mid-September at the university's recreation center.

President M. Duane Nellis' email was sent six days after the university announced the task force. The email refers to "a pattern of unacceptable behavior within some of the Greek organizations."

Juan S. Munoz, chairman of the Task Force on Greek Organization Culture who works on diversity equity at the university, said the email was sent after several people on campus asked for more information about the task force.

"We wanted to communicate a sense of the progress" we're making, he said.

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