Protesters march through Iowa City on third consecutive night of FIJI protests

On the third consecutive night of protests, University of Iowa students marched and continued protests over allegations of sexual assault at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in September 2020.


Grace Smith

A protester holds up a sign saying “I’m ashamed to be a Hawkeye” during the third night of protests following sexual assault allegations against the University of Iowa’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta at the Pentacrest on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Ryan Hansen, News Reporter

On the third consecutive night of protests against the University of Iowa’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, people marched to call for the removal of the fraternity.

Two former members of the fraternity, commonly known as FIJI, have been accused of a sexual assault in September of 2020. Court records show the Iowa City police investigated the fraternity related to those allegations last year.

About 200 people gathered at the Pentacrest just after 8 p.m. with a few short speeches and chants about UI President Barbara Wilson’s inaction and the alleged perpetrators of a September 2020 sexual assault.

The march started shortly after and passed through downtown Iowa City, with police blocking Clinton St. traffic. Protesters then moved between Burge, Daum, Catlett, and Stanley residence halls and asked onlookers to join. About 25 people joined the march to FIJI.

Cars along Clinton St. and Riverside Drive honked to show their support for the march, drawing cheers from the crowd.

At 8:45 p.m., the protest reached the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house. A few of the lower-level windows were boarded up. Some shattered glass remained from Tuesday night’s protests. In the upper levels of the house, lights remained on.

Protest leaders urged the crowd to remain peaceful. Outside the house, the group sat for about 10 minutes, many in the street, and chanted. Chants included, “You’re all complicit,” “You’re all guilty,” and “We stand with her.” It was unclear if members of Phi Gamma Delta remained inside the house.

After some chanting, protest leaders asked people to place their signs at the front of the FIJI house in a peaceful and respectful manner. Signs read, “I’m ashamed to be a Hawkeye,” “Arrest those rapists,” “F— FIJI,” and “UIowa has a rape problem.”

Edina Kuduzovic, one of the protesters, said that she felt a duty to join the demonstration.

“It shows support not just for victims but also for those who haven’t spoken up,” Kuduzovic said.

Just after 9 p.m., protest leaders called for a minute-long moment of silence.

“If you are a victim of sexual assault, you are not alone,” one protest leader said. “This moment of silence is for you.”

Protesters then began marching through the fraternity circle, an area encompassing multiple fraternity houses, including FIJI. Houses throughout the circle had banners condemning the assault.

One protester stepped out of the march and began throwing rocks at the back windows of FIJI. They were quickly urged to stop by fellow protesters and protest leaders.

At 9:15 p.m., the march began back to the Pentacrest. Chants included, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, rape culture has got to go.”

Again, police blocked Riverside Drive and Madison St. to allow protesters to safely cross.

Some members of the march shouted at the police officers and pleaded for them to protect UI students.

One protester shouted, “Police are protecting rapists.”

The march returned to the Pentacrest around 9:30 p.m. and leaders thanked the demonstrators for remaining peaceful before the group dispersed.

Violet Whiting, who was also at Tuesday’s protest, said that the university and UI Fraternity and Sorority Life were not doing enough despite two days of protest.

“I’m just very sick and tired of victims not getting justice,” Whiting said.