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The Daily Wildcat


Total Frat Move reports false controversy between WRC, AEPi

Logan Cook
The Women’s Resorce Center located on the fourth floor of the Student Union inside CSIL.

The cancellation of the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi’s philanthropy event “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” sparked controversy when an article published on the website Total Frat Move wrongly called out and criticized the UA Women’s Resource Center for being responsible.

“Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is a national event intended for men to raise awareness in their community about men’s sexualized violence toward women by walking one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. AEPi intended to hold the event on Nov. 20 at the UA, and the fraternity’s philanthropy chair, Jack Kaplan, reached out to the WRC to see if they would support the event, but they declined.

The Total Frat Move article, published on Nov. 23, was apparently based on an email the website received claiming the WRC referred to Kaplan as a “fratboy” and told him that what he was doing was homophobic, transphobic and sexist. The article, written by Rob Fox, also asserted that Kaplan cancelled the event because of fear of backlash.

“So, uh, congrats on being the most mind-bogglingly employed human beings in America, staff of the University of Arizona Women’s Resource Center,” Fox concluded in his article. “You set out to make a difference and you did. By denying women some charity and alienating men who were innocently trying to help. Hooray!”

Krista Millay, director of the WRC, sent out an email to her staff detailing her decision to not participate. She said, despite what was said in the Total Frat Move article, the WRC did not cancel AEPi’s event nor does it have the authority to do so. She also said that the WRC did not advocate for the event’s cancellation through protest or any similar conversations.

“Jack Kaplan did invite the WRC to attend their ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ event,” Millay said in the email. “We declined to attend because we do not believe this method of sexual violence prevention reflects our values.”

Millay explained that the WRC believes that sexual violence prevention is not a show and that it should actually work to end sexual assault. She added that the WRC does not agree with the humor behind men walking around in heels.

RELATED: WRC groups plan, prepare for SlutWalk 2016

“This work should be survivor-centered and result in real, tangible changes that take time and effort,” Millay wrote. “Many of our fraternity men are doing this work. And it is particularly needed on a campus where a disproportionate percentage of our assaults occur in Greek houses. One funny event, and its media coverage, should not overshadow the hard work that is being done by so many other fraternity men whose quiet but steady commitment doesn’t get a lot of press.”

Jack Kaplan was not available for comment, but AEPi’s president, Jonathan Burger, a junior studying political science and Middle Eastern studies, said that Total Frat Move is an unreliable news source and should not be trusted. He also said he was unaware that there was going to be any article until he saw it published.

“All I really have to say about the philanthropy event is it’s sad that it had to come down to the WRC not agreeing with everything, but at the end of the day, it was a philanthropy that we were just trying to raise some money for domestic and sexual abuse, and we’re going to work with them and see what we can do together to make it a philanthropy in the spring,” Burger said.

Burger declined to comment further on either Kaplan or the article. He emphasized his hope to work with the WRC in the future and raise money for a good cause.

“The WRC has extended several invitations to work with Jack and AEPi to create alternative actions that would actually position these campus leaders to change campus culture and create safe spaces for UA students,” Millay said in her email. “Despite the harassment and outrage I’ve received over AEPi cancelling its event, we are still committed to working with them.”

Follow Leah Merrall on Twitter.

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