Sexual assault, date rape, accidental deaths from drinking or drugs at parties – all stories we hear far too frequently in the context of Greek life at colleges and universities. Not only are events like these completely devastating to an institution’s community, but they can also be devastating in terms of reputational consequences and lawsuits.
There are actions your institution can take, though, to help break the stereotypes surrounding Greek life and make sure that on your campus, fraternities and sororities remain what they were always intended to be: a haven for students to create a family for themselves and feel safer, more comfortable and more fulfilled with their college experience.
Provide Easy Access to Preventative Resources
Students need one place that can act as a repository for important information on difficult topics like what constitutes sexual assault, what the signs are of addiction or alcohol abuse, what to do if a friend has had too much to drink at a party, and other issues that frequently arise in fraternities and sororities. With a quick log-in to your school’s conduct management system, students should be able to access documents, videos, questionnaires and more to help them answer tough questions they might be asking about themselves or their peers.
Furthermore, students need an easy way to take government-mandated Title IX-related trainings, which will help them better understand the nuances of what constitutes sexual assault and the meaning of consent – two issues that are all too commonly present in Greek life at many institutions.
Provide an Anonymous, Fast and Easy Way to Report Concerns
Once a student has determined that they might have been involved in or witnessed an assault, or that themselves or a friend may have a drug or alcohol problem, they now need a way to easily and anonymously report this to your student conduct office. Remember – they are probably already hesitant to do this because they don’t want the report to be traced back to them. Being part of a Greek organization instills a feeling of family between members, and the last thing any of them want to do is report a “brother” or “sister.” If the process of submitting reports is lengthy or frustrating, that might be the nail in the coffin that discourages them from reporting the issue at all.
Also take into consideration that many of these topics are hard to discuss with a staff member face-to-face. Students feel much more comfortable if they have a way to do this online without having to suffer any uncomfortable or emotionally painful interactions in person.
Deliver Sanctions Quickly and Effectively
Once a student has reported a concern, your office needs to show that they can handle this with speed and efficacy. Imagine the frustration of a sexual assault victim on campus who reports their issue and doesn’t hear back for weeks due to disorganized processes within your office – they’ll certainly never report anything again, and they’ll tell their fraternity or sorority brothers and sisters not to bother either. Without a streamlined way to manage cases like this and deliver sanctions in a timely manner, your student conduct office will earn a reputation among students that is something along the lines of, “Don’t waste your time. They’re not worth dealing with.”
Advocate by Symplicity is trusted by institutions like Duke University, Towson University, Boston University and more to help your team accomplish all three of these goals in order to ensure that Greek life on your campus remains as safe as possible.