Addressing sexual violence on campus

Photo by Ben Keyserling

The recent events with Phi Kappa Tau have reminded Tech that sexual violence is a critical issue. Phi Kappa Tau’s case is also suggestive of larger problems within the Greek community: specifically, a lack of transparency which leads to a disturbing culture. These issues cannot be solved internally, nor can the student body be expected to spontaneously bring about change. It is therefore the responsibility of the administration to respond effectively, contrary to their reaction to the “rape bait” email, and to take concrete steps to ensure tangible change on campus.

In any case where student safety is a concern, the Institute is obligated to have decisive response. Taking no action is the worst possible option. The Office of Greek Affairs and the Greek Councils should develop and implement an investigation process for Tech fraternities. The investigation should focus on ensuring that fraternity houses are safe and the organizations to minimize the chance of sexual violence.

The administration also needs to seriously address the long-standing tradition of secrecy in Greek organizations. Though many members of the Greek community believe secrets create bonds, this policy has led to extremely dark problems, as evidenced by the Phi Kappa Tau case. Members of the fraternity who did not directly participate in the atrocities surrounding them did not speak up, presumably because of peer pressure of their brothers. This silence strengthened the rape culture in that organization, and resulted in a sexual assault case.

Therefore, the Institute needs to implement a program to enable concerned students to safely whistleblow, maintain anonymity and still have housing. This protection program is absolutely necessary since secrets that are harmful need to be reported. After all, relationships, not secrets, are what bind students together.