Sorority Members Harassed After UCSB Murders
SANTA BARBARA, California -- “It’s really hard watching it all play out on social media,” said University of California Santa Barbara student Lindsay.
Lindsay is friendly with members of the Tri Delta sorority, which lost two of its members, Veronika Weiss and Katie Cooper, in the Isla Vista attacks Friday.
Many of Lindsay’s friends at UCSB have been affected by the murders. According to Lindsay none of the Alpha Phi sorority members--those targeted by Elliot Rodger--were home when the killer banged on the sorority doors Friday night, before turning to shoot at Weiss and Cooper outside. The entire house of Alpha Phi was on a trip during the holiday weekend, except one who had left the house to travel to another town that night, according to Lindsay. That would partially explain why no one opened the sorority doors to the murderer.
(The UCSB Alpha Phi President could not be reached for comment and a sign posted on the front door of the sorority states it is not currently making any statements.)
Local high school student Savannah Benz reacted by starting a new website Jointheallegiance.org. Through the site, Benz hopes to draw national attention "to stop violence against women on school campuses," collecting pledges and gathering suggestions on how to better prevent violence against women.
Lindsay commented that she doesn’t want to see the attack turned into a feminist symbol or to see it highly politicized, but rather hopes it evokes helpful suggestions to prevent violence and bring a greater level of safety to college campuses. She added that she now feels like she constantly finds the need to look over her shoulder, even though the murderer is dead.
Alphi Phi hired personal security guards that have been staked out in front of the house for days. Security has also been seen at the apartments where the murderer took the lives of his two roommates, Cheng Yuan Hong and George Chen, and another student, Weihan Wang, thought to be visiting the residence.
A strong mix of opinions and comments has emerged as sorority members have received what Lindsay referred to as harassment over the incident. She recalled how her friends at Tri Delta have received messages that blame the girls for what happened.
A false Facebook page under the murderer’s name, created May 25, has been making comments directed toward the Tri Delta and Alpha Phi Facebook pages. Still other users have posted messages blaming and criticizing girls from both the Tri Delta and Alpha Phi sororities.
Despite these criticisms, many more have posted messages of support and prayer for those affected.
All UCSB classes have been cancelled for Tuesday in order to observe a day of mourning and reflection. A memorial is being held at 4:00pm at Harder Stadium on Tuesday for the six students who died.