A member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and direct descendent of one of SMU’s founders, Mahaffey concedes he knew the victim didn’t want to engage in sex but was made to say it was consensual “or lawyers, parents, and the school will be involved,” according to a conversation recorded by police.
Mahaffey attacked the unnamed student twice, once in a parking garage and again near the Sigma Phi Epsilon house.
This week, Inside Higher Ed reported on the case as part of a larger feature on same-sex assault on college campuses. But it’s clear the Methodist college has some serious issues regarding homosexuality: In 2011, junior Charlie McCaslin stepped down as chairman of the Texas College Republicans because a video surfaced of him making grossly homophobic and sexist comments.
This year, the school actually dropped off The Princeton Review’s list of most homophobic campuses for the first time in recent memory (In 2011, it was ranked No. 12.)
Mahaffey’s fall from grace is all the more surprising because of his standing on campus: A scholarship committee chair, he’s also a Hunt scholar, a student senator and an officer on SMU’s inter-fraternity council.
“This alleged behavior is not tolerated and not consistent with the fraternity’s mission,” SPE president Luke Friedman said in a statement. “This is a disturbing situation and the chapter’s thoughts and concerns go out to everyone affected.”
After his arrest in September, Mahaffey was released on $25,000 bond.