Fraternity Songbook Celebrates Violence on Women : UCLA: Action is being considered against Phi Kappa Psi, which distributed the publication to its pledges.


The UCLA administration is deciding what action to take against a fraternity that distributed to its pledges a book of songs advocating mutilation, necrophilia, sadism and other acts of sexual violence against women.

"I am shocked by this," Winston Doby, vice chancellor for student affairs, said Wednesday. "I would be the last to defend this. . . .

"But there's a free-speech issue here," Doby said. "The question is what action is appropriate."

Katrina Foley, co-editor of Together, a feminist magazine published at UCLA, said that while there had long been rumors that such songs were being sung at some fraternities, the existence of the 1989 songbook came to light several weeks ago when an unknown person dropped a copy off at the magazine's on-campus office.

"It was called 'Songs of Phi Kappa Psi,' " she said. "Whoever left it left a note that said, 'Thought you might find this interesting.' "

She said that under the heading "Raunchy Songs," the book listed sexually explicit lyrics to at least four songs, sung to such tunes as "Candy Man" and "Heigh-Ho."

These lyrics, some of which were published Wednesday in the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin News, focus heavily on acts of violence against women, advocating the use of cheese graters, chain saws and whips as instruments of sexual torture.

"We want some action taken against a system that allows and accepts these attitudes as normal," Foley said. "We want whatever it takes to eliminates this kind of violence against women."

Chris Lee, president of Phi Kappa Psi, which has been under disciplinary suspension for about a year and is no longer recognized by the university, confirmed Wednesday that the songbook was distributed to this year's pledges by some member of the fraternity.

"I don't know who did that," he said. "It's been confiscated (since then) by our pledge trainers and destroyed. Our alumni advised us to do that."

The fraternity lost its affiliation with UCLA and was suspended by its national organization last June, after what an alumni adviser described as "a series of events over the past several years culminating with a party at which off-color remarks were made that could be deemed as sexist."

"The events at the party were the final straw," said Terry Thompson, a 1985 UCLA graduate. "They've come a long way, but they have a long way to go."

The Daily Bruin News article quoted several members of fraternities as saying the verses were harmless drinking songs.

But Lee, who said he first saw the book when he was a pledge last year, made no attempt to defend the songs. "I think they are offensive to both men and women," he said.

Foley said that she and her co-editor, Sheila Moreland, took the songbook to the office of UCLA Chancellor Charles Young and asked for an investigation.

"Considering the rapes on campus, this is a problem that needs to be confronted," she said.

Vice Chancellor Doby, who oversees the activities of UCLA's fraternities and sororities, said his office was aware of the songbook before Foley's call for action, and said he had already begun discussions with other members of the administration on what to do.

"This book of songs is a sad commentary on where the minds of some of our young men are," he said. "It's symptomatic of a larger problem. It displays an ignorance, a perception that there's nothing wrong with this sort of thing. There are rumors that there are other fraternities, and sororities as well, that do this. . . .

"We look at this as an educational problem, more than a disciplinary problem," Doby said. "How can we impress on young people the importance of sensitivity?"

Doby said the question of what action to take is complicated by the fact that Phi Kappa Psi no longer has any official status on campus.

Both Doby and Lee declined comment on what led to the disenfranchisement of the fraternity, which no longer operates out of a chapter house affiliated with other campus organizations.

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