Greeks Take the Lead on Ending Sexual Assault on Campus
Students across the country have become more aware of the need for greater sexual assault prevention on college campuses and members of Michigan State University’s fraternities and sororities have come together to lead that effort.
On Sunday, November 22, 2015, members of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity participated in the first “Greeks Take the Lead” training program at their house on Collingwood Drive in East Lansing.
Greeks Take the Lead is an interactive training program that was developed by MSU’s Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Prevention Program (SARV) in partnership with the Interfraternity Council (IFC), Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, and Panhellenic Council, to bring the MSU Greek community to the forefront of sexual assault prevention.
Kelly Schweda, program coordinator for SARV, hopes that a program like this will provide a dynamic approach to addressing sexual assault—one that will cause a “wave effect of mentorship within the Greek system.”
A sexual assault climate survey released in September revealed that 13.2 percent of MSU students responding said they experienced nonconsensual sexual contact (either penetration or sexual touching) involving physical force or incapacitation. Among female undergraduates, 24.8 percent experienced completed or attempted nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation, while 11.7 percent were victims of completed or attempted nonconsensual penetration involving force or incapacitation. MSU stated that 8,352 undergraduate, graduate and professional students responded.
For a full report from on MSU’s survey results, go to http://cabs.msu.edu/_files/documents/MSU_final_AAU_report_.pdf or read the survey press release here: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-releases-results-of-campus-climate-survey-on-sexual-assault-misconduct/
The Greeks Take the Lead training session includes an hour-long interactive workshop that informs participants about creating a safe space for fellow students, how to handle sexual assault if it happens, and how to best support victims of sexual assault. According to Schweda, certain aspects of the workshop are interchangeable to accommodate the diverse set of fraternities and sororities that are housed here at MSU.
Kyle Sims, former president of Lambda Chi Alpha and current president of the IFC, said he believes a training program like this is critical to shifting the culture on campus. Sims helped to develop and facilitate the November 22 pilot program and says that if students are armed with knowledge about sexual assault and how to address it, they will have the opportunity to emerge as leaders in prevention and cultivating a safe environment for all.
“Overall, I believe the pilot program went very well,” Sims said. “Participants were very engaged and were very receptive to the content of the training. It was encouraging to see a group of fraternity men challenge themselves to lead the way in stopping sexual assault.”
Ultimately, it is the intention that all MSU Greek Life organizations will participate in Greeks Take the Lead by the end of the 2016 spring semester, according to Schweda.
In addition to contributing to the elimination of sexual assault on campus through the leadership of fraternities and sororities, the SARV leader said she hopes that participation in this training will encourage more students to apply to be SARV peer educators and to continue to pass this dialogue on to incoming freshman next fall.