Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lets Change Fraternity Culture Regarding Sexual Assault

As an organization SigEp has focused on the concept of "Sound Mind; Sound Body" for the last several years. That is now part of our core. Our academic progress across all chapters has been amazing since grades became something we measure. SigEp has also made great strides in the areas of diversity and inclusion is a relatively short time.

Now it's time for SigEp as an organization to address another negative stereotype about "Frat Boys" - sexual assault. And by "address" I mean more than scary stories in a risk management presentation.

We need to remember that "Virtue" is also a Cardinal Principle.We are instructed to "behave with decency as befits the day." Even - perhaps especially - when alcohol is involved. Lets work toward actively promoting Virtue as a SigEp quality.

How shall we move toward a culture that does not accept this type of behavior? Can we consciously build an atmosphere in out chapters where "this is NOT what SigEp does" is communicated from the national level, to the local volunteer level, to chapter leadership, and to the members? I asked these questions at the Ft. Worth "Volunteer Drive-In Training" session last week. The response I got was "You are the word junky, How would you craft the message?"

Fair enough. If you complain you get to volunteer. So here is what I think:
  • From the top down, the message about sexual assault should be "This is not accepted SigEp behavior." A balanced man does not assault his date, or his 'new friend', "I plead drunken stupor" is not an excuse. 
  • It's no longer 'cool' to slut-shame someones daughter.  
  • If fighting is a standards board offence, then sexual assault belongs there too. Yes, that would mean you could get penalized or even kicked out. 
  • We get lots of scary cases and 'what ifs' during the inevitable Sexual assault portion of risk management presentations. How about making a positive case for acting like a gentleman? Add more "act like this" to all the "don't do that."
  • Find a way to measure and reward positive behavior. This could be tough since we are talking more about the absence of bad actions, but maybe some of the professionals could suggest metrics.
That should be enough to get the discussion started. Lets hear from you now. Pro, con, too far out, not drastic enough? Have at it.

Here is a link to the article that had the video attached:
Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem | KPBS:

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