New Bylaw Requires Some U of I Fraternities to Complete Sexual Assault Training
URBANA, Ill. (WCCU) —
A new bylaw at the University of Illinois will now require some fraternities on campus to educate members about sexual assault and bystander intervention.
The interfraternity council at the U of I will require all 42 of the fraternities in its organization to attend the workshop once a year. Some of the members said it's a way to make the Greek community on campus a part of the solution to the problem.
President of the interfraternity council, Ross Bessinger said sexual assault is an underreported crime that can happen anywhere.
"It can take place out on the bars, it can take place at a fraternity house, it can take place anywhere on campus," Bessigner said. "Sexual assault has been in the front of our minds and it's definitely a topic we've been talking about since day one and it doesn't go unnoticed especially from our perspective."
University of Illinois police has received several reports of sexual assault on campus this year.
"Based on the data we have not identified any sort of pattern that suggests sexual assault on campus occurs at fraternities more often that anywhere else," the spokesperson for U of I police, Patrick Wade, said. "Any amount of additional training around the issue is another positive step toward ending the sexual assault."
"When you hear about that as a member of a fraternity you always think 'what could I have done or what can I do to stop this from happening in my community,'" vice president of standards for the interfraternity council, Kevin Kraner said.
All second-year members of the chapters will now be required to attend a workshop teaching about sexual assault and bystander intervention once every academic year. Some university resources will contribute to the workshop.
"We want our men on this campus to be looking out for each other and looking for everyone else on campus as well," Bessinger said. "Even if it's someone you don't know, we want to be leaders on this campus and we want our men to be the first to step in and say 'hey that's not right.'"
Any fraternity within the council with less than 60 percent of attendance will be forwarded to the council's judicial board, and chapters with attendance between 61 to 89 percent will be fined $20 for each person absent. All of the fines will be donated to local resources focused on sexual assault survivors.
The council's requirement starts in fall 2017.