Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ball State Stresses Risk Management

Risk management education keeps Ball State's greek community safe

By Jaclyn Goldsborough

Walking into a party, no one ever expects to see a student with a clipboard making sure everyone is being safe and complying with the rules. But at a Ball State fraternity party, that is just what everyone should expect, even if the same precautionary measures are not taken everywhere.

Over the weekend Indiana University student Brian Macken, 19, was sent to the hospital after being found unresponsive at a Phi Sigma Kappa party at IU. He was later pronounced dead Tuesday night. While the case is still under investigation, many Ball State students have been questioning what the university does to protect its students and the greek life community.

Lynda Wiley, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of Student Life, said greek life members at Ball State are provided with risk management training and a 24-page policy to ensure the community is safe.

"It's not about one education program. It's a combination of educational measures," she said. "Programs that reach our students are one-on-one programs, and peer-to-peer education, one of the most effective tools we have."

Wiley said sometimes no matter the delivery it is always best to hear tips from a person the same age.

"As much as I love working with students, someone in my position and at my age can only go so far," she said.You can have a huge impact if it is someone your own age, sharing the same experiences at this point in your life. It can send a message in a way that I simply cannot replicate. There is something about the peer-to-peer relationship that is special."

Matt Whitlock, president of the Interfraternity Council, is on call every weekend and makes his round to greek events every Saturday.

He is one of the regulators that scans the room for people abusing alcohol or breaking other risk management rules. But he doesn't watch to get people in trouble at the moment. He is there to monitor and report back to the council and the fraternities to further evaluate the chapter's performance.

His job is just one of the demands of being on the Social Evaluation Team. SET is a program to ensure a safe environment for the community and report on the findings of each checklist evaluation.

Parts of the checklist include making sure guests age 21 and older are marked with an X or wristband, utilizing a printed sign-in sheet, checking IDs , and making sure there is one sober monitor per 15 guests in the house, among other rules.

Whitlock is just one of many greek life members trained to assess risk management.

Jacob Kluth, vice president public relations for IFC, has also been trained to monitor greek events.

He said the training happens at least once a semester to ensure new members and chapter members are up to date and prepared for any problematic situation.

"It's not if it happens, it's when," Whitlock said.

The checklist referred to in the story can be downloaded at:!/Checklist.pdf

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