Written by Ken Schneider, Young Alumnus Consul
In response to evolving challenges, we need to be proactive establishing a safer on-campus experience for members of Sigma Alpha Mu. We are starting to implement better ways not only to safeguard our fratres but also our guests. The young men and women are invited on a weekly basis to share an experience with a positive outlook on Sigma Alpha Mu. A disservice is committed if clear policies are not implemented and communicated to keep our guests safe. Sigma Alpha Mu introduced measures like the Good Samaritan Policy within the Risk Management Policy. Sigma Alpha Mu strives to educate its members about sexual assault, what constitutes these offenses and how other Greek organizations are creating similar frameworks. While Sigma Alpha Mu currently possesses a written policy on these matters, updates in policy and reporting standards require our volunteers to anticipate challenges and respond appropriately. The Health and Safety Task Force took on this charge from the Octagon, led by Patrick Wright III (Delta Zeta, ‘14) as well as a handful of other dedicated alumni.
This task force set out to accomplish a number of tasks including: drafting language to help define the key terms surrounding different sexual offenses, researching university Title IX offices across the country, as well as other Greek letter organizations, for policies and language/education with the ultimate goal of creating a consistency within our language and education. Each of the listed tasks complement each other and help ensure that active members are receiving the best counsel.
A simple step may go a long way in bridging a knowledge gap, like the definitional divide amongst terms like sexual assault, sexual harassment, abuse and rape. Each term is differentiated and explained clearly within the policy. This will communicate to undergraduate members why each category of offenses requires clarification. The task force agreed upon definitions that originated from federal law enforcement agencies. The committee would like to see these definitions be utilized as a guide by risk management officers and councils to talk about these offenses with their members.
In addition to this step, our task force charged its members to look to the example of other Greek organizations and university offices to identify patterns in policy beneficial to ΣAM. Everfi recently published The Definitive Relationship Between Alcohol and Sexual Assault on College Campuses, considerations which are within our membership policies. Universities are accommodating to new laws and reporting policies within their Title IX investigations. In response, Greek organizations will adapt education methods to reach more of their members.
The research and work of the committee will draft new policies into the existing Risk Management document. Recommendations will be made as to potential programming and additional resources for those within the Chapters charged with disseminating the information to the undergraduate membership. Ultimately, the continued success of the Fraternity will be aided by the tireless work performed on a volunteer basis by the members of the Health and Safety Task Force, and its work is incredibly worthwhile considering the implications.