Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Frat Men in High Heels for a Cause

The University of North Carolina-Wilmington

On Saturday, Aug. 26 at 9 a.m., don't be alarmed if you see some of the top fraternity men from University of North Carolina Wilmington walking downtown in high heels.

As part of a community service project to benefit the Coastal Carolina Rape Center, fraternities will be showing their support, raising money and awareness for women who are victims of violence by literally walking a mile down Water Street in women's shoes.

The program was started in 2001 in Los Angeles and has gained national prowess in recent years with marches in cities such as St. Louis, Buffalo, San Jose and now Wilmington. Fraternities that are part of the historically white Interfraternity Council (IFC) and historically black National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) will be participating in this effort.

Jason Lynch, vice president of community service for both the IFC council and his fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, coordinated the effort with UNCW Associate Dean of Students Anthony Jenkins. "Participating in the walk will not only unite our fraternities, but it will also send a positive message to the Wilmington community as a whole," said Lynch.

From the perspective of the Dean of Students Office, Jenkins commented that he was extremely proud that UNCW fraternities continue to take a "positive and mature stance" on the issue of violence against women through this and other efforts.

"Historically, some people have negative perceptions of fraternities being womanizers and partiers," Jenkins said. "Whether those perceptions are valid or not, many would say those behaviors foster a campus environment that places women at risk for sexual assault and rape.

"It is important to have men identify their role while working to curtail such behaviors on campus. Many of the men taking part in 'Walk a Mile in Her Shoes' were involved in last year's White Ribbon Campaign, a program designed to encourage men to take a stance on violence against women.

As men, we are in the most advantageous position to change attitudes and behaviors toward sexual assault and rape," he said. "The Greek men at UNCW have always sought to make a positive impact on their community. This is just another fine example of that," said Jenkins.
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