Fraternities and sororities at the University of California, Berkeley took an unusual step last week after two sexual assaults were reported at an off-campus event: They banned themselves from having parties until Greek life members could revise guidelines about hosting safe social events.
“The IFC has voluntarily decided to suspend all social events until we can reevaluate our risk management practices and care for those who have been affected,” the school’s Interfraternity Council wrote in a Facebook post.
Representatives from more than 30 houses met to set new rules for Greek events. The IFC lifted the party prohibition on Saturday, four days after introducing it ― albeit with some stipulations, as promised.
“The IFC has voluntarily decided to suspend all social events until we can reevaluate our risk management practices and care for those who have been affected.”
First, fraternities and sororities will no longer admit non-Berkeley students into their parties. IFC members said they “have no reason to believe” last week’s assaults were perpetrated by Berkeley fraternity members.
“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,” Panhellinic President Divya Thomas told CBS San Francisco.
Second, Greek organizations pledged to have a conversation with every party attendee about the meaning of the word “consent.”
The IFC did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for more information about how the group intends to structure these conversations.
Seventeen rapes, 13 of which occurred on campus or in student housing, were reported last year, according to a Berkeley security report. That’s a decrease from 29 reported rapes in 2014.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.