Authorities at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, have opened an investigation after a group of menacing students reportedly attempted to break into the LGBTQ+ Fran House last Thursday evening. The attacking students allegedly tried to pry open windows to gain entry, verbally harassed students inside, and at least one student was accused of exposing himself and urinating on the property. Members of the Tau Keppa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, which was banned from campus in 2019, were identified by witnesses as the attackers. Fran House now occupies the old TKE residence, also known as Tower House.
Equally disturbing were reports from students that responding campus security laughed and made light of the incident with the alleged attackers. The security reportedly shook the hands of each before promising to see about getting them access to the house after finals week was over.
“Let us in!” Fran House student advisor Tyler Luong said the attacking students yelled as they attempted to pry open a bathroom window. “This isn't your home! This is our home!”
“We write to acknowledge and condemn a horrific incident that occurred last night at Tower House, the Fran's House affinity residence and center of student life for our LGBTQ student community, and to state our unequivocal support for all LGBTQ Bucknellians,” Bravman, Provost Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak, and Associate Provost for Equity & Inclusive Excellence Nikki Young said in a joint statement released the day after the incident. “We are both outraged and sorrowful that the residents endured this violation of the space that is so critically important to them as a community. These actions will not be tolerated.”
Luong described a normal Thursday evening at Fran House, the unofficial gender-inclusive and affirming house for LGBTQ+ students on campus. He said he was studying for finals upstairs when the group of roughly 20 former TKE members allegedly attacked the house and tried to gain entry.
“All of my residents were shouting for me to come to the bathroom, and when I arrived, I saw one of my residents holding down the window, while a bunch of silhouettes stood menacingly on the other side,” Luong recalled, later adding one student swung a metal bar at the pole holding flying a rainbow Pride flag while another urinated on the porch. “The only thing we could've possibly done was sit in anger and fear, as we waited way too long for Public Safety Emergency to arrive.”
When the public safety officers arrived, Luong claimed “the officers bonded with our offenders, reminiscing their college days and calling them handsome young men” and that “promised to talk to the chief of public safety to get them access to our house when finals week was over, shaking each and everyone on of their hands” before letting them go.
“As a student, how can I call them Public Safety when they arrived late to the scene, and then ENABLED that behavior?!” Luong continued. “Why am I required to call Public Safety during emergencies if they make light of an emergency?”
Fran House also issued a statement, demanding not just a full and complete investigation that holds the attackers and responding officers responsible, but also demanding that Tower House be established “as the permanent residence of the LGBTQ+ community” at the school.
Bravman said the university was “gravely concerned” about the attack in the school’s statement, adding it was clear from “multiple accounts that the students violated the physical space and, far more importantly, the residents' sense of place and security” while also noting it was “equally clear that Bucknell Public Safety's response to the incident was lacking.” He went on to say an “outside firm” was hired to conduct the investigation.