All hail Arkansas State University’s interim Chancellor Doug Whitlock! A-State saw yet another on-campus sexual assault recently–after a fall with three reported assaultsthree reported assaults, two of which remain unsolved.
Under Chancellor Whitlock’s impressive leadership, the Assistant Dean for Greek Life Alexis Hurdle has sent a letter to Greek organizations shutting down all social events until April. According to Region 8 news, the letter explained the purpose of the social freeze was to allow Greek organizations to “use the month of March to host two Social & Risk Reduction Trainings.” It continued:
We are partnering with various departments across the Division of Student Affairs to assist us with these trainings. We are requiring that 100% of your chapter membership be in attendance for the training…. Failure to have 100% chapter attendance will result in a complete loss of social privileges through Fall 2017. Please inform your membership as quickly as possible so they can make appropriate arrangements to attend the appropriate training. Any members with academic conflicts are asked to attend the other training.
The links between Greek life and sexual assault–including the ways that Greek life affects broader campus attitudes about rape–have been explored in depth, and though we know that college programming about sexual assault is not enough and that the good intentions of bystanders do not always result in effective interventions–I’m grateful for this step, which provides real incentive for Greek organizations to address sexual assault.
Not surprisingly, the decision has garnered backlash, including ample victim-blaming and concern for the future of the Arkansas State University student arrested for the assault.
I’ve written Chancellor Whitlock a note of encouragement expressing my appreciation for his action. The address is below, and I encourage you to share your own support for strong and evidence-based action to prevent sexual assault on campus with him, especially if you are an A-State student, alum, faculty member, employee, or parent of a current or future Red Wolf.