The presidents of all active fraternities on campus drafted and signed the first fraternity-wide policy to set standards for prevention and response to sexual misconduct October 17. The policy is the culmination of work that began last spring.
The “Fraternities Committed to Safety” policy was written and signed by Alpha Delta Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Delta Upsilon, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Zeta Psi, Psi Upsilon, and Lambda Phi Epsilon.
The policy, which is available online, says that any brother who is found guilty of sexual assault by the University, the Chicago Police Department, or the University of Chicago Police Department must be immediately expelled from the fraternity. Fraternities must also suspend from participating in social events any brother who is formally accused of sexual assault.
The policy also states that there will be meetings every fall quarter between fraternities and representatives of the University’s Resources for Sexual Violence Prevention or Title IX department.
“Our goal is to come together to make a positive change by using the resources we have to create a safer campus environment,” Psi U President Drew Armstrong said. “But we acknowledge that this document alone won’t solve the problem of sexual violence.”
Although many of the standards in the agreement are adopted from the policies of individual fraternities and reflect similar efforts of organizations like Greek Life in Front from last spring, the policy is the first that was jointly written by all the fraternities and publicly establishes baseline standards that all fraternities must meet.
The website has a page that allows people to report perceived violations of the agreement. Only fraternities that uphold the “spirit” of the policy will be able to re-sign the agreement each quarter based on majority vote of the ten member presidents.
Though fraternities cannot prohibit each other from hosting social events, in the event that a fraternity is not allowed to re-sign the agreement, Multicultural Greek Council President and Lambda President Michael Meng said the power of the policy lies in the message sent to the community.
“Our hope is that it is a signal to the community, whether we believe that organization is safe, is upholding the standards that we believe in, and so in that sense it is very powerful because it allows us to govern ourselves in a very mutual pressure for a better end,” Meng said.
Because the policy represents the minimum standards fraternities must follow, the fraternity presidents said they hope to go further in the future.
“I think that our firm, written, publicized commitment to safety, to transparency, to responsibility in our community is huge, it’s something that has never in my experience or in my knowledge has happened before, and that’s enormously powerful. And I also don’t think things will stop here,” Meng said.