During the week of October 18, the University of California, Berkeley Greek life decided to temporarily suspend parties hosted by their fraternities
Berkeley’s Greek Life Halts Parties Due To Reports of Sexual Assaults
During the week of October 18, the University of California, Berkeley Greek life decided to temporarily suspend parties hosted by their fraternities and sororities.
This decision came after it was brought to light that two women reported being sexually assaulted at off-campus fraternity events earlier in the month of October. The Interfraternity Council at Berkeley voluntarily banned all of its fraternities, which amounts to over thirty, from hosting any events until new plans could be implemented in preventing sexual assault.
“We needed to take some time off and really assess our situation,” said IFC president Daniel Saedi. “These are grave acts of violence that are occurring. They have no place anywhere in this country let alone on college campuses.”
The Panhellenic council also decided to halt parties until they could reach a new system with the IFC to help prevent sexual assault from happening at Greek events.
After holding a meeting at the Delta Delta Delta sorority house on Saturday, October 22, the Berkeley IFC and Panhellenic council created new rules to help stop sexual assault and lifted their self-ban on parties.
The first new step they are implementing is to exclude non-Berkeley students from attending Greek life events. Members of the IFC don’t believe that the two assaults reported were acted out by Berkeley fraternity members. The Panhellenic President, Divya Thomas, also supported that it was likely non-Berkeley students who committed these sexual assaults.
“We’ve seen a lot of problems in the past in which people who are not members of the Greek community and not Berkeley students come into our parties and cause risk management situations,” Thomas said.
The second step Berkeley’s Greek life is implementing is to have a conversation about consent with every attendee of their parties. They’ve also decided to have at least three sober monitors at parties in order to have a stable person who is able to diffuse a situation where sexual assault may occur. Berkeley Greek life is also taking a page out of Stanford University’s book by banning hard liquor at parties.
Stanford decided to ban hard liquor after the controversial and highly publicized Brock Turner sentencing. Berkeley Greek life will fine members $20 if they are caught with hard liquor at parties.
Berkeley’s reported amount of rapes have gone down between 2014 and 2015, with 17 rapes being reported last year as opposed to 29 in 2014. Hopefully, with Berkeley’s IFC and Panhellenic Council decision to implement new regulations at their parties, these cases of sexual assault will continue to drop.
Sexual assault on college campuses has been a hot topic for the past few years; even Vice President Joe Biden has publicly spoken about the importance of sexual consent. The fact that a university organization with other 1,500 members has decided to actively address the issue of sexual assault and implement ways to prevent it from happening is good news for society. Not only will this help prevent sexual assault from happening at Berkeley’s campus, but this proactive approach will hopefully rub off on other campuses too.