Alleged sex competition by St. John's University students sparks investigation, protest

An alleged sex contest initiated by male students at St. John's University in the city of Collegeville, central Minnesota, is being investigated by administrative officials and condemned by female students at the private institution's sister school, the College of St. Benedict.
The Record, which serves as the student newspaper for the two Roman Catholic partner universities, first reported on allegations that students living in a dormitory at St. John's University vied to find out who could have the most sexual encounters with Women visiting St. Benedict.
According to the campus newspaper, St. John's students made a list of the names of specific St. Benedict students and awarded points for various actions. Details of the list are unclear.
Katie Alvino, a spokeswoman for the colleges, said the administrators learned of the allegations in late September and have "actively investigated" since then.
"We will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct," Alvino said in a statement on Thursday. "We use trained, impartial, independent investigators to identify those responsible. We are committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the community respect the rights and human dignity of all."
Citing the ongoing investigation, Alvino did not say whether the students in question were identified or disciplined.
The Record reported that administrators and employees recently called a mandatory meeting for residents of St. John's dormitory at the center of the allegations to discuss the issue.
Alvino said there will be more campus discussions about the announced competition and that the leaders of the two colleges fully supported a protest on campus on Thursday.
Several hundred students took part in the outdoor demonstration and sit-in organized by the College of St. Benedict's Institute for Women's Leadership.
Emily Berg Paup, professor of communication and gender studies at the colleges, said the allegations were "worrying". She took part in the protest and applauded the students for joining forces to denounce the alleged competition.
"It's obviously an indication of ... a broader cultural problem," she said. "This is a problem in colleges across the country, around the world."
Olayinka Fadahunsi, a St. Benedict junior student studying global corporate governance, said she hoped the colleges will hold St. John's students accountable for their actions. Malicious behavior by male students has been "swept under the rug," she said.
"It's hard to try and adapt to a predominantly white institution, especially a Catholic ... and that only confirms and reinforces the fears that women of color on our campus have with any interactions with the male Johnnies," said Fadahunsi, who Black is. "It makes me nervous and uncomfortable going back to campus just knowing this happened."
Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234

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