Student ‘forced to use police escort’ after horrific homophobic, racist harassment from fraternity members

A university student in Illinois, United States, has said he now requires a police escort while on campus due to racist and homophobic harassment from fraternity members. 

Arluan Van Hook is an 18-year-old Black man studying at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE).

He told local news station KSDK that after being relentlessly targeted by frat members since March, he has been forced to move back in with his parents in Florissant, Missouri, 25 miles away, and is in counselling.

“I’ve been told all African Americans live on welfare and just off government assistance,” he said. “I’ve been called the N word, I was pulled on, pushed around in the dark woods.

“I have dealt with racism and hazing, and I’ve witnessed homophobic slurs, and that’s not something I personally stand for.

“I just want those guys to be held accountable… it’s changed my life.”

A spokesperson for the university confirmed an investigation is taking place, and that the school has issued a no-contact order against the fraternity. 

His parents were expected to meet with school officials this week.

“An investigation is underway regarding a hazing claim,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“This disrespectful behaviour is unacceptable and has no place at SIUE.”

The news comes as hundreds of students walked out of their school in Missouri in October after a classmate was subjected to homophobic bullying. 

Hundreds of students were seen marching out of Lee’s Summit High School on 4 October after fellow student Danny Lillis reported bullying incidents to school administrators “at least four times”. 

Melanie Davies, the mother of one of Lillis’ friends, told KSHB 41: “Every single time that this happened, our kids have gone to student administration and reported it… there is supposed to be a zero tolerance policy for bullying, but nobody is doing anything about it. 

“They haven’t gotten the help that they needed.”

Lillis added: “We decided to do the walk-out today to basically show movement towards our school and administration for the lack of action towards these repeated and multiple events that have been happening to me and my friends.”