More than 200 people marched past fraternity houses in Dinkytown on Saturday afternoon to draw attention to what they called a culture that sometimes fails to hold sexual assault perpetrators accountable.
The march was organized by Break the Silence, a Twin Cities organization that shares stories of sexual assault survivors. Marchers called on the university's fraternities to help abolish "rape culture," a phrase used to describe an environment they say normalizes sexual assault or abuse.
The group's Facebook page cited reports last week from a man who said he was raped by a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi while pledging the fraternity in January. Police are investigating the allegation.
The march also was prompted by the alleged sexual assault of a female student by several Gophers football players last year. Six of those players face possible expulsion or suspension from the university.
"It is morally impossible to maintain neutral in rape culture," said Sarah Super, 28, the founder of Break the Silence. "Hold these fraternities to a higher standard."
The march started at 10th Avenue SE. and proceeded east on University Avenue, where many large fraternity houses are located. It wrapped up outside Williams Arena.
Marchers held signs with statements such as "Hold your brothers accountable" and "I stand with survivors." Occasionally they chanted, "Hey hey, ho ho, rape culture has got to go!"
Several fraternity members marched with the group, including a handful of students from Alpha Epsilon Pi, wearing sweaters with their fraternity letters. They denied requests for interviews but said they were there to support survivors.
Three sexual assault survivors, including 22-year-old Abby Honold, shared their stories outside the Purple Onion Cafe on 13th Avenue SE.
"We need fraternities, and college men in general, to hold each other accountable in regards to rape culture," said Honold, who was raped in 2014 by Daniel Drill-Mellum when he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. He is serving six years in prison.
On Thursday, University President Eric Kaler said he is mandating training for faculty and staff and creating a presidential advisory committee on sexual misconduct.
"I think it's amazing that [Kaler] said something at all," Super said. "I would encourage him to hold firm on his stance."
A couple of fraternities placed signs denouncing sexual assault outside their houses. Super said she was happy to see fraternity members there but wants them to be stronger, more consistent allies in the future.
"If this is their first and only step, they're mistaken and have a long way to go," she said.