University of Utah fraternity and sorority organizations have committed to intentional and meaningful education and training after reports of two sexual assaults in fraternity houses this past winter prompted a two-week pause in all social activity.
In a letter from Fraternity and Sorority Life this week, chapter leaders acknowledged the assault allegations had raised legitimate issues.
“To the victims and survivors that have been harmed by members of the community, please know that we believe you and that we stand with you. Thank you for your courage to come forward,” the 20 organization leaders wrote. “We recognize that for some of you, we may have broken your trust and we’re dedicated to building that trust back and contributing to the solution.”
At the end of January, a campus safety notification was issued under the Clery Act reporting a sexual assault at one of the U’s fraternity houses. That email prompted another report and led University leaders to suspend all social activity in the houses for a two-week period early in February.
At the end of that pause, fraternity and sorority leaders reached out to campus groups working in victim advocacy, survivor support and violence prevention to develop a comprehensive set of education and training requirements for fraternity and sorority leaders and members. One series of trainings through the Center for Student Wellness this semester will include:
- Safer Party Culture
- Building Community through Bystander Intervention
- Focus on Healthy Relationships
- Let’s Talk About Sex
At the same time, organization leaders will be required to develop accountability measures and communication standards and guidelines.
“Our fraternity and sorority chapter leaders and their members are engaging in serious self-reflection and are having the difficult conversations necessary to move forward in a productive and responsible way,” said Jason Ramirez, dean of students.
Fraternity and sorority leaders also committed to strengthening partnerships with the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention (MCVP), the Center for Student Wellness, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (OEO) and the Office of the Dean of Students.
“We aim to further the learning of community members, in understanding our roles in being the leaders, citizens and people we vowed to be when we said yes to joining our organizations,” the letter stated.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know that it is not your fault and that there are resources to support you:
- Students, faculty, and staff can contact the university’s confidential victim-survivor advocates. Call 801-581-7776 or email email@example.com.
- For immediate support, call 801-585-2677 and ask to speak to an on-call crisis support specialist.