The MSP for North East Fife said the allegations were not a matter for the fraternity house to resolve, and the authorities should be involved, after it was revealed that an all-male Jewish student fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) had suspended several men who had acknowledged roles in “the alleged incidents”.
Details of the alleged assaults were posted on an Instagram page set up specifically for survivors of sexual abuse at the university.
Mr Rennie said: “This is not an issue for AEPi to resolve themselves; it has gone well beyond that. If AEPi knows anything about what has gone on and who is involved they must step up and do the right thing. These are deeply worrying allegations that deserve a thorough investigation by the authorities and the complainants deserve our full support.”
The St Andrews AEPi Society is part of a worldwide organisation and is known for its barbecues and toga parties. It has “chapters” at eight other UK campuses and famous US alumni include Gene Wilder, Mark Zuckerberg, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. However it has also faced several allegations and police investigations into sexual misconduct at some of its United States chapters.
The allegations against the AEPi members were among hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse on the “St Andrews Survivors” social media page which have been submitted by present and former students, though not all assaults took place in St Andrews. Some of the alleged victims said the university had failed to deal with their complaints properly, but the university and police said no formal complaints had been made.
A spokeswoman for the university said: “It is categorically untrue to suggest the university tried to suppress survivor testimonies, as the account creator has made clear. The university’s primary concern is to ensure survivors know that we are ready and willing to support their decisions and take action, facilitate police reporting, and provide ongoing support accordingly. We have clear and established procedures for investigating allegations of this nature. However, the details of any investigations must remain confidential to offer appropriate support and fair outcomes to all concerned. It would not be appropriate for us to comment on whether any specific individual or group is under investigation.”
A fraternity spokesman said they would co-operate with inquiries.