An alleged sex competition started by male students at St. John’s University in the central Minnesota town of Collegeville is being investigated by administrators and condemned by female students from the private institution’s sister school, the College of St. Benedict.
The Record, which serves as the student newspaper for the two Roman Catholic partner colleges, first reported the allegations that students living in a dorm at St. John’s, which is an all-male university, competed to see who could have the most sexual encounters with women attending St. Benedict.
According to the campus newspaper, the St. John’s students made a list with the names of certain St. Benedict students and assigned point values for different actions. Details of the list are unclear.
Katie Alvino, a spokeswoman for the colleges, said administrators learned of the allegations in late September and have been “actively investigating” ever since.
“We will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form,” Alvino said in a statement Thursday. “We are utilizing trained, impartial, third-party investigators to determine the responsible parties. We are committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the community respect the rights and human dignity of all.”
Citing the ongoing investigation, Alvino did not say whether the students in question have been identified or disciplined.
The Record reported that administrators and employees recently called a mandatory floor meeting for residents of the St. John’s dorm at the center of the allegations to discuss the issue.
Alvino said that there will be more campus discussions about the reported competition and that leaders of the two colleges fully supported a protest Thursday on campus.
A few hundred students attended the outdoor demonstration and sit-in organized by the College of St. Benedict’s Institute for Women’s Leadership.
Emily Berg Paup, a communication and gender studies professor at the colleges, said the allegations were “disturbing.” She attended the protest and applauded students for uniting to denounce the alleged competition.
“It’s obviously indicative of … a broader cultural problem,” she said. “This is an issue on college campuses all around the country, all around the world.”
Olayinka Fadahunsi, a St. Benedict junior studying global business leadership, said she hopes the colleges will hold the St. John’s students accountable for their actions. Harmful behavior by male students has historically been “swept under the rug,” she said.
“It’s already hard to try to adapt to a predominantly white institution, especially a Catholic one … and that just confirms and reinforces the fears that women of color have on our campus with any interactions with the male Johnnies,” said Fadahunsi, who is Black. “It makes me nervous and uncomfortable to go back on campus just knowing that that happened.”
Ryan Faircloth • 612-673-4234