Cornell Fraternity Under Fire for 'Pig Roast' Sex Contest a 'Conduit for Misogyny'

"To deny that sexism in Greek life is routine is appalling," writes Cornell University student Pegah Moradi.

Cornell University has placed the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity on probation for two years because of its "pig roast" contest — new members were encouraged to have sex with as many women as possible and overweight women generated the most points.


Cornell student Pegah Moradi is a columnist for the Cornell Daily Sun. Moradi wrote that the shock and surprise expressed by leaders of ZBT as well as the university is insulting.

"To imply that the commodification and abuse of the female body is anything but ordinary is naïve," she wrote. "To suggest that the sort of amplified masculinity inherent in the system of the American fraternity is neither an incubator of nor a conduit for misogyny is deluded. To deny that sexism in Greek life is routine is appalling. To say we should be surprised is an insult.

"The all-American method of addressing cruelty is to express shock and then to sculpt that shock into an ersatz response. This is explicit in the way our nation's legislatures respond to mass shootings or corruption, for instance, but the same sentiment exists on a micro scale, and it especially exists in the laughably lazy responses from both Zeta Beta Tau and the University."

The probation period of two years begins this month following an investigation by the university's Fraternity and Sorority Review Board, which ended in January. The Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life was made aware of the allegations in 2017.

According to the "Hazing at Cornell" website, ZBT was found guilty of violating section 11 of Cornell's Fraternity and Sorority Expectations of Membership, which does not "tolerate or condone any form of sexually abusive behavior on the part of its members, whether physical, mental, or emotional. This is to include any actions, which are demeaning to any person or persons including but not limited to sexual assault or verbal harassment."

In the pig roast competition, new members were encouraged to have sex with women to earn points.

"In the event of a tie, additional points were awarded to the new member who had had sex with a woman who had weighed the most," according to the university's website. "The new members were told not to inform the women of the contest."

Other steps ZBT will have to take in addition to the chapter's probation, include an external review by its national organization, hiring a live-in advisor who reports to the university administration and participating in events such as Sexual Assault Awareness Week and Cornell's bystander intervention program.

ZBT posted a Facebook message stating that its leadership only found out about the pig roast contest in December and they were "shocked and appalled" by the allegations. The fraternity's leadership said the contest wasn't a chapter-sanctioned activity.

Ryan Lombardi, Cornell's vice president for student and campus life, said in a statement that ZBT's behavior "is abhorrent to me and antithetical to our values as a community. Behavior that degrades and dehumanizes women contributes to a climate and culture of tolerance for sexual violence."

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The racist and hate-filled rant against a Black woman riding on the Long Island Rail Road in New York is now under investigation by Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials.

Passengers said a man ranted for about 10 minutes, spewing racist and sexist slurs directed at another rider, 25-year-old Soraya Orelien.

"He made me feel disgusting," Orelien said in an interview Friday with WABC-TV. "He made me feel less than what I am. And I'm not the only one who has experienced this."

The incident occurred around 10 p.m. on April 19, but the video went viral last week. Orelien was on her cellphone speaking with a friend during her commute that originated at Penn Station. Hearing her talk on the phone enraged the man and he confronted her.

A woman named Aneesa Janat Rafeek, according to her Facebook page, was a passenger on the train that night and posted a video on her page showing a portion of the racist rant, which she also said lasted 10 minutes.

She explained:

"*Let me be clear about what prompted these nasty remarks*

"An African American woman was behind him speaking on the phone (not loudly in my opinion as I was sitting only diagonally from him and could not hear her).

"He started off by mumbling under his breath and then escalated to yelling at her about being a loud mouth b**ch. When another young woman, also Black, stood up for her, he continued to yell and then call[ed] them monkeys.

"What this video does not show — him getting up to get in the young [woman's] face to scream at her more. It was honestly so disgusting to witness.

"Say what you want in regards to 'both' sides being ignorant and needing to be quiet. Have someone start yelling profanities at you for being 'loud' and see how you react."

Orelien told Eyewitness News, "He came to my face and was like, 'Ooh ooh ahh ahh, you monkey,' and I just sat there. I just sat there, and I didn't say anything. I just said, 'You need to leave. Leave me alone. Please just walk away.'"

The Baruch College senior said she is coming forward and speaking about the incident as a reality check for others.

"I want people to know that this still happens!" Orelien told PIX11 News.

"I'm proud to be a strong Black woman in this day and age, and no one can talk to me like that."

Sources identified the man as Edward Ruggiero, a Manhattan stagehand and member of Local 1 IATSE, who lives in Long Beach, L.I., according to the NY Daily News. But he denies that it's him in the video.

Eyewitness News cameras went to the suspected man's home and confronted him on his porch.

"Get the story straight. Do you want to talk to us? You call yourself a journalist — get your f****** story straight!" he said. The man rushed inside before reporters could speak with him further.

An LIRR spokesperson told PIX11 in a statement:

"This language is offensive, completely inappropriate, and has no place in our society, let alone on the Long Island Rail Road. The MTA Police are actively investigating this report … Anyone who sees a situation like this unfolding should notify a conductor immediately. This absolutely falls under the mantra of: if you see something, say something."

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A Democrat hailing from North Carolina hoping to join the state House claims that he is a part of the African American community.

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