I’ve been editor of the student newspaper at Florida Atlantic University for a year, but until this week, I’d never been threatened to be struck down by a “higher authority” or had tweets written about me telling people to pray for me. And our beardy mountain man of a photographer had never been threatened with a beatdown by a bunch of sorority sisters.
But that’s what happened this week after we printed an exposé on an annual underground, fraternity-tied drinking party that last year resulted in a police investigation into an alleged gang rape.
The past four years, after a big annual step-dancing show on campus, the South Florida Spill, a private event, has taken place at the Wayne Barton Study Center— a private facility two miles from campus that is run by former Boca Raton Police Officer Wayne Barton. Last year, the event drew about 25,000 people.
The event name sounds a lot like so-called "oil spills" — all-you-can-drink parties that run until the liquor runs out. Witnesses we spoke to remembered that at last year's event, tickets were sold by Greek organizations and that there was alcohol at the event. After the event, an FAU student told police she was pulled behind a curtain and gang-raped. The case is still under investigation.
Tweets about the event hint at its character. Bobby Mitchell reported, "I mean literally got it in at #SFLSpill. Dude pulled her pants down and put the condom they give you on and she sat on him." User @iamyaokhari tweeted a picture with the caption, "After I ate the pwussy last night at #SFLSpill," then was saluted as "sir" for it. A woman, Neisha Clark, wrote that "everybody kept touching my ass."