LINCOLN — About 50 people gathered Saturday to protest vulgar behavior they say the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity displayed toward demonstrators at the Women’s March in the city a week ago.
After the Jan. 21 march, demonstrators reported that men at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house shouted phrases such as “No means yes” and “your p-----s are blue” at protesters. A UNL investigation into the complaints is underway.
Members of the fraternity, which is commonly known as Fiji, have denied these claims.
The Facebook page for the demonstration was called “Smash Patriarchy at Phi Gamma Delta UNL” and was created by La Alianza. Dale Gutierrez, co-founder of La Alianza, said it is a Chicano activist group that focuses mostly on organizing protests and less so on sending its own members to the rallies.
Protesters said they stood against behavior that condones sexual assault and a culture that allows perpetrators of these crimes to go unpunished.
However, at Saturday’s rally, an anti-fascist group of black-clad individuals quickly assumed the center of attention.
Arguments broke out among protesters who agreed they opposed Fiji’s earlier actions but disagreed with the methods of the anti-facist group. One of that group’s tactics included flinging tampons painted red in front of the Phi Gamma Delta house.
Gutierrez said after the rally that La Alianza is separate from the anti-fascist group.
Lincoln Southeast Community College student Rahma Gotiya said she agreed with the group in protesting language condoning sexual assault but thought people wouldn’t be receptive to the actions at the protest.
“They’re looking at them like you cussed at us, you just threw tampons,” she said. “Now it’s just, like, 'Oh, you’re trashy,' and they don’t want to respect what we have to say.”
Lincoln activist Marisol Herling said that shouting and arguing with onlookers was a way for their message to be heard.
About 25 members of the anti-facist group eventually took the protest indoors, along with a few other demonstrators, to stage a sit-in at the entrance of the Nebraska Union.
There, they continued chants such as “no means no” and displayed flags saying “anti-fascist nation” before leaving about 3 p.m.
“We organized the event to shed light on what occurs in the Greek fraternities because a lot of time what happens is covered up by the universities themselves,” Gutierrez said. “That’s because alumni from these fraternities feed a lot of money into the universities.”
* * * * *
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story and accompanying photo captions did not clarify that the black-clad individuals were members of an an anti-fascist group and that the group La Alianza is separate from the anti-fascist group.