Frat Disaster, What to Do?

Really need advice here…

So my son had a very rough first semester of his freshman year this fall. He quickly became involved with a girlfriend in a whirlwind romance full of drama and breakups and reconciliations. After the final breakup they had an emotional confrontation (I think alcohol was involved), and they both yelled at each other. I am not proud of my son for acting this way (yelling at a girl and drinking) and I told him he needs to behave much better, especially with girls. (This was his first relationship.)

Since then however, the girl and her group of ten of her friends (11 people total), have been mercilessly bullying my son. They have been screaming at him in the hallways of the dorm and harassing him on social media. It has been so bad that when he returned to campus this month after winter break, we decided to have him switch dorm rooms to get away from these people. He got involved in other activities and has been trying to make new friends and avoid them.

To that aim, he decided to join a fraternity to make some new friends. He rushed with three frats and had a great time getting to know the different guys. He was ultimately invited into all three frats and he picked the one that he liked the best. However the president of the frat said to him that they had received some vague information from some girls that my son had “assaulted” someone, but they did not know what to make of it and they were accepting my son anyways. Two days later, at a frat party this last Saturday night, the angry ex-girlfriend and one of her friends showed up at the frat party and told everyone at the party that my son had “assaulted” someone. The guys in the frat at that point felt they had no choice but to kick my son out of the frat. He tried to join one of the other frats that had initially wanted him, but unfortunately that frat asked the first frat why my son wanted to transfer, and when this information was discussed, the second frat also rejected him.

My son is devastated to say the least, and this accusation has now been told to dozens of people, effectively branding him as some sort of violent monster. The truth is that my son never laid a hand on anyone and the girls are equating verbal yelling with “assault.” They are not making specific claims or elaborating, they are just misusing the term assault and all it implies. I’m afraid they are ruining any chance for my son to ever be in a frat at this school, or perhaps even attend a party. After moving dorm rooms and pausing all his social media accounts he is now in hiding from this group of bullies who seem to want to destroy his life.

I don’t feel like I can go to the school authorities about these lies and the bullying because if the girls repeat the lie to the officials at the school, things could get much worse for my son. My older son thinks that his brother will have to transfer schools next year to get away from this horrible rumor, and especially if he ever wants to be in a frat, but my son really loves this school. The girls hate him with a passion and seem to be bent on revenge. What should we do? Is there any chance he can pledge next year with a different frat at the same school? Or should we just bite the bullet and transfer him? (The other schools would be more expensive too, sigh.)

I’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts, this is really hard for us. Thanks.

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You need to get involved, a Freshman is not equipped to handle the crazy that is going on here.

  1. Have a serious conversation with your son and find out if he put hands on the girl in anger. Get the whole story.
  2. If he did not and it was just yelling I would contact the office at the school that handles Greek life and the fraternityʻs national office- and ask questions about them rescinding their bid.
  3. I would contact the Dean of Students at the university and find out what options your son has for recourse. If they do not take action, contact an attorney. Those girls need to be dealt with.

If the school does not take a serious interest in this matter your son may have to transfer.

I am really sorry.


Thank you so much for your reply. We immediately did Step 1, talked to my son seriously. In fact, after the rejection from the second frat he was so devastated that I jumped in the car and drove five hours to be with him that night. He definitely did not lay hands on anyone, male or female, or do anything that could remotely be construed as “assault.” However he did have a loud verbal emotional outburst with the girl. I’m guessing they are interpreting this as “verbal assault,” however they are leaving out the key word “verbal” and are using the term assault very loosely. They seem to have known some of the guys at the frat and showed up at the party specifically to sabotage my son.

I will look into those other two options. I’m honestly scared to get the authorities involved because these girls have shown some other signs of mental/emotional instability (in addition to the extreme extent of this bullying) and if they decided to continue the lie or even enlarge upon it, my son could be kicked out of the school, which would make transferring even harder.

I’m so sorry this is happening to your son and your family. As a senior, hearing that college students could act like this, scares me. You don’t have to tell me the school if you don’t want to, but I hope it’s not one I applied to.

  1. I heard that you can’t rush twice (this could be a sorority thing). You will have to check the rules on this. But it’s worth it if he asks the third frat and honestly explains the situation beforehand.
  2. I agree that it could escalate in a bad direction if you get the school involved- Especially with the circumstances of the situation in this day and age. I’m not sure how things would work if you took legal action. It’s his word against hers and I’m not sure who’s side the court would take.
  3. I wouldn’t advise transferring unless he literally can’t take it anymore. You would need to really consider costs, as you mentioned, since transfer student usually don’t get as much merit scholarships.
  4. Know that things will get better. If he has to change schools know that it’s for the better and part of his life plan.

Thanks! Yeah, I wonder if he could talk to the third frat…he’s just been so hurt by the rejection of the last two I guess it’s a little scary at this point. The sad part is that he was really trying to make new friends and that’s why he rushed in the first place. Ugh.

After looking up a legal definition of assault (" generally defined as intentionally putting another person in reasonable apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Physical injury is not required." ), I think you are wise to be wary of going to school authorities in case you start something that has even worse consequences for him. Does his school have a student legal services resource? I would start there, either school specific or perhaps there are state student legal service resources. Also, it may be pertinent to know if there were any witnesses to their altercation. He should also be documenting the incidences of harassment against him.


Very sorry to read this. Your family, your son in particular, need outside guidance to deal with this situation. Perhaps legal advice, and therapeutic.

His ability to remain at this school and thrive can’t happen if a situation continues to simmer, not go away, and potentially build into something worse. If there is a “narrative,” and he has no say in the direction it goes, or any say in what his version of events were, who knows where this could lead? Take action to re-build his confidence, and grow friendships in other parts of the school.

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Contact the Dean and hire a lawyer. Tell your son to delete all social media and do not engage with crazy people online or in person. Stay calm. Your son needs protection and these bullies need to learn there are repercussions to bullying. Perhaps the bullies need to be expelled from the school.


Thanks…we will look into what can be done. He just changed dorm rooms recently and we are hoping the bullies will finally leave him alone. If they will, then he might be able to stay at the school and rush with some different frats next fall. At the same time I am telling him to get his gpa as high as possible this semester, in case he does have to transfer.

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I just wanted to add that I am so very sorry about this situation. It is really awful and I can only imagine how difficult it would be for your son. I know you’ll continue to get good advice from folks here. And I wish you and your son the very best.


Thanks <3

Verbal assault is a crime in many jurisdictions.

Your son needs a fresh start, but social media can enable this group of 11 to harm his reputation anywhere.

This is a difficult situation.

P.S. I am sending a brief PM to you.


Given that verbal assault is considered a crime, what happens if a fight is between two parties? (This is a straightforward question, not meant to be argumentative.)

Also, if the person in this scenario is still on campus attempting to function, and has been sought out and confronted by other parties, what would be the next steps?

What does a fresh start in this situation mean? Can it be resolved first? Agree on the social media angle.

Again, these are honest questions on best practices in a difficult sitation.

But if there was yelling by both parties then wouldn’t the verbal assault go both ways?


I believe verbal assault involves threatening harm, as in “I’m going to kill you” or “I’m going to break your arm”. I don’t think having a yelling match necessarily qualifies depending on what was said. This in no way means that you shouldn’t consult an attorney. I think that’s definitely the prudent thing to do, especially if the only witnesses to the verbal fight were the bully’s friends.

As the mother of a college senior boy and a freshman college girl this entire story saddens me and I sincerely hope your son can find a way to regain a meaningful college experience. The idea that a girl’s word should be given more weight or veracity than a boy’s is incredibly disturbing to me. And to have a posse that’s signs on to perpetuate it is equally horrible.

I wish you and your son the best!


Sorry for the situation your son has found himself in. Assault is defined under each state’s law, but typically defined as putting another in fear of imminent fear of bodily injury, e.g., pointing a gun at someone, feigning a punch to the face, etc. “Battery” involves physical contact. Those are the legal definitions, in layman’s language “assault” often is thought to involve a physical altercation. An ugly verbal argument is not enough unless there is a threat to imminently harm the person. It is not a crime to have a heated nasty verbal argument. I don’t know what the best course of action is but I guess I find the current status quo situation unacceptable, so even if you have some reservations, under the circumstances, it may be worth getting the RA and/or administration involved as they may be the only ones who may be able to curtain the bullying and intimidation. I’d save any texts, messages, if any, that memorialize the threatening behavior, also anyone present when your son was intimidated/bullied is a potential witness as well. Most colleges have a code a conduct, if the conduct continues, particularly the slanderous statements to others, there could/should be consequences for those making the statements.

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How big is the school? Just wondering if eventually he can just get “lost in the crowd” or if the school is small enough that he will continue to see these people on a daily basis? This is a horrible situation and an awful way the ex is trying to get revenge.


Assuming the original post was made in good faith and reasonable accuracy (and there is no reason to believe that it wasn’t), “lost in the crowd” doesn’t seem like an option here. (No judgement on anyone suggesting this tactic, by the way.)

The altercation has led to escalating interactions, moving dorms, and the loss of a club association on campus. Plus a verbal campaign that the person in question has been impacted from.

Your child needs allies and support in order to counter the situation he finds himself in. (I am making no assumptions about what happened during the original incident.) Otherwise, when will be enough be enough? As deemed by whom?

The advice to keep calm is very important. Perhaps private, independent help would be advisable, before discussing the matter with those connected with the school.


What about joining some clubs or an intramural team to meet new friends?

@nymom122 YES, 100%. Sounds like it was on both ends. I’m a parent to 2 girls and 2 boys and I don’t care if it’s my sons treating girls that way or my daughters treating boys that way, or same sex to same sex. It is not appropriate either way. They are ruining your sons reputation and the fact that they just say “assault” implies some sort of sexual assault, not just yelling. The fraternity also didn’t seem to care enough about him to get his side of things either so he probably dodged a bullet by getting out of there.

@calimom5 I would take this up as far as need be. If he didn’t physically assault her, and there is no evidence of said assault then he needs to report this bullying and harassment. They are ruining his reputation and he should not stand for that. As someone else said an 18 year old does not have the ability to handle this on their own and at a minimum you should seek legal guidance or contact the ombudsman. Changing dorm rooms is clearly not going to cut it, as it sounds like they hang in the same circles or perhaps it’s a small school. I wouldn’t worry about him “rushing” next year, but I would worry about how he’s going to get through the rest of this year with these people constantly badgering him. I wouldn’t stand for anyone treating my kids this way and if I had to file a harassment report or press some sort of charges against them that is exactly what I would do. Find out what legal remedies you have because this girl (and her friends who have been told lies) sounds like she has some type of issues and needs help. You son wants to move on and she isn’t letting him. Your son should 100% block all these people on all forms of social media and make sure his wherabouts are not known. He may very well have to transfer, or take a semester off or something just so he can breakaway and not be running in the same circles. If he hasn’t become an active member at a fraternity then he should be able to rush again, but it sounds like these people will just keep following him and making that impossible until/unless he does something to ensure it doesn’t happen. That’s why this should be reported.