Protesters assemble on fraternity row in response to sexual assault allegations

Students gathered near the front lawn of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house on Wednesday night.

Protests broke out on the campus of Mississippi State University Wednesday night in front of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house. Around 11:30 p.m., approximately 50-100 individuals stood on the sidewalk in front of the house and shouted their frustrations into the damp night air. 

The protests were in response to sexual assault allegations against a member of the fraternity, according to one protestor, who asked to remain anonymous.  

"If I had anything to say to Mississippi State University and the student body as a whole, (it is that) I've seen this across the country and it's happened to me twice and I don't want it to happen to anyone else. No means no ... we are calling for change and Mississippi State needs to respond as soon as possible," said the protestor. 

Another protestor, MSU junior Brennan Houston, offered a statement on the protest. 

"We're out here at Pike, and we think it's (messed) up that somebody has been able to rape multiple people and (that) nothing is being done about it ... so we're going to make something happen," Houston said. 

As of Thursday morning, the university said they had not had a formal complaint filed but were looking into the events of the night before. 

“Mississippi State University continues to monitor this matter and is aware of the protest. As with all situations of this nature, MSU has conducted a thorough review. But at this time, the university has not received a formal complaint alleging misconduct," Chief Communication Officer Sid Salter said in an email to the Reflector. 

MSU Police Department Chief Vance Rice said they have not received any reports of sexual misconduct allegations in relation to last night's events. Rice added that the individual who supposedly committed the assault does not have any prior complaints filed against him. 

UPDATE: The next night, a cold and misty Thursday evening, about eight protestors gathered at The Junction and planned to march to Pi Kappa Alpha to call attention to their complaints. According to the attendees, they were protesting in response to a series of sexual assault allegations against a fraternity member that was spread on social media and GroupMe.

"We want to stand for (sexual assault victims') rights because there's actual victims, like myself, and we need to stand for this," said Nan Edwards, a protest attendee and freshman at MSU.

"He shouldn't be able to get away with it, likeit's too many people for it not to be one victimit's enough," said Kameron Bragg, a freshman social work major.

Similar to Edwards, Melanie Salazar, a freshman at MSU, said she was also a victim of sexual assault and wanted to raise awareness and garner support for victims. 

While Thursday's protest did not draw a large crowd like the previous night's, the petite gathering held strong, firm beliefs. The group said the university and fraternities must be held accountable, so the fraternity member with the sexual assault claims must be expelled if the allegations are true. 

This is an ongoing story. Check back here later for more updates as the situation progresses.

Hannah Blankenship and Heather Harrison contributed to this story. 

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