Summit unites Greek student leaders, alumni, administration in tackling sexual assault

“I think this could be a national model,” Scroggs said. “Within a year, they’re going to be saying ‘Let’s do things like the University of Missouri.’ That’s our goal. We intend to be the national model.”
PHA President Allison Fitts speaks with press Saturday at Memorial Union after the Chancellor's Summit on Sexual Assault and Student Safety in Fraternity Houses.

Of the Fraternity Alumni Consortium’s four proposed regulations that surfaced earlier this month, one is likely to be enforced, while two remain to be a toss-up and the fourth has been completely scrapped.

Stotler Lounge’s glass doors were outfitted in long black curtains June 20, screening the attendees of the first-ever Greek summit on preventing sexual violence from view. The room was filled nearly to capacity with more than 250 students, faculty, administration and alumni in attendance.

The University of Virginia Dean of Students Allen Groves was invited to moderate the summit, as per an invitation from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs.

“My role was to come in and help ... facilitate a good conversation so that all the voices in the room got heard,” Groves said. “We are trying to elicit all possible viewpoints.”

He said the summit’s objectives were to provide a voice, especially for students; to construct some short-term goals to achieve; and create framework for longer-term objectives.

Scroggs said the majority of people in the room were students who vocalized their opinions on the Consortium’s proposals.

“These were very, very early proposals,” she said. “And they were that. They were proposals. They were ideas and nobody had gutted them to the degree that they needed to be gutted.”

The day commenced with presentations from the Title IX office, IFC, PHA and the consortium about the proposals. Consortium spokesman Ted Hellman said they were happy to be at MU to have this conversation.

Both sorority and fraternity leadership support for the Consortium’s proposed alcohol policy, but Panhellenic Association has also voiced support banning out-of-town social events and formals.

In April, PHA penned a letter to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin voicing concerns about two of the policies and the consortium’s failing to consult women when drafting them, and providing insight on prevention of sexual assault at MU.

“Our intent of the letter was to make sure we got a seat at the table, which we definitely did today at the summit,” PHA President Allison Fitts said after the summit. “I think the big thing moving forward is to continue to have women at the table when it comes to making policies in regards to their safety.”

Last Monday, PHA published their own proposal on how to prevent sexual assault, which has been in the works since January.

Fitts addressed at the beginning of the summit, and it was mentioned several times during the day, which she is taking as a positive reaction.

“It was going to happen regardless,” she said.

Other organizations in attendance were staff members from MU’s Title IX office and the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, several of the consortium’s members and administrators. Loftin’s flight back to Columbia was delayed, however, and he was unable to attend the summit.

“I think something we took from today was definitely increase education for all of our members,” IFC President Jason Blincow said. “And beyond the leadership, it’s more of the regular members that don’t get to see stuff like the summit or go through some of the trainings that we do.”

He also introduced IFC’s new alcohol policy,

After a lunch break, the mic was passed around the room for attendees who wanted to share their thoughts and ideas. Then, they broke out into peer groups, in which they collaborated on their own proposals for sexual assault prevention.

“I think everyone in the room was very invested in ensuring the safety of women in the Greek community and on campus,” Fitts said.

Scroggs said hosting more meetings such as the summit would be “a tremendous action step” that they will probably be taking.

“I think this could be a national model,” she said. “Within a year, they’re going to be saying ‘Let’s do things like the University of Missouri.’ That’s our goal. We intend to be the national model.”

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