Bucknell University is investigating a "horrific incident" against a living space for LGBTQ+ students.
John Bravman, the president of the Pennsylvania school, issued a letter to the Bucknell community Friday condemning the incident, in which a group of male students “harassed and intimidated” those living in Fran's House Thursday.
“It is clear from multiple accounts that the students violated the physical space and, far more importantly, the residents’ sense of place and security,” stated the letter, which was cosigned by the school's provost and associate provost. “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 L.G.B.T.Q. Bucknellians.”
Witnesses told The New York Times that up to 20 men approached the house last Thursday night. Some were pounding on the door, others were hitting a metal pole, one man was urinating on the porch, several climbed onto the roof, and a few were shouting, “Let us in, this is our house." The building housed the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity before its removal two years earlier. The Times reports the fraternity was banned for gruesome hazing practices that included throwing darts at bodies and dog shock collars.
On Thursday, Tyler Luong, a junior and resident assistant, recounted being warned via text message to lock windows and doors; a group of students attempted to hold a window closed upstairs. Luong called public safety, at which point most of the men fled. But when an officer arrived, his response to the several remaining intruders was “shaking hands with them, reminiscing about what it felt like to be a handsome young man with hair in college,” Luong told the Times.
Many of the residents, shaken, slept over with friends. Luong concealed a sharp object under his bed in case any of the men returned. “This was especially traumatic for a lot of us to deal with,” said Carolyn Campbell, a leader of Fran’s House, “because we never thought that something, like, so overtly horrible could happen to the house like this to strip away the sense of safety."
In response, Bucknell has enlisted an outside firm to probe into the incident and "appropriate consequences for the students' behavior will be swiftly determined and implemented." Additionally, the letter noted that "Bucknell Public Safety's response to the incident was lacking in myriad ways." Thus, there will be a separate investigation into public safety, and the school "will implement corrective and disciplinary measures as appropriate."
Members of the Bucknell community also leaped into action, standing nightly guard at Fran's House and planning a Saturday march against toxic masculinity. Fran's House issued a statement of thanks. "We are astounded by the amount of advocacy and kindness we have received as a result of this from the LGBTQ+ individuals and allies in the Bucknell student body, faculty, staff, alumni network, parents, and more," the letter stated.
In addition to a call to hold the invaders and public safety accountable, the group also asked the university to establish Fran's House as a permanent residence for LGBTQ+ students and to improve to the structure, such as making it ADA accessible. "Never again should someone feel entitled to come to our home and say it’s 'their house and not ours,'" the letter stated.