GLC votes to reform sexual assault policy
By Ester Cross, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Presidents of 27 Greek organizations voted unanimously to pass a new sexual assault proposal that will place uniform sanctions on individuals found responsible of sexual misconduct by the Committee on Standards. The policy, which will go into effect immediately, will partly replace the internal adjudication procedures of Greek organizations by providing guidelines for sanctions and member education.
Of the 31 Greek organizations under GLC’s umbrella, four representatives of Greek organizations were absent from the meeting, but expressed their support of the policy, according to GLC spokesperson Ali Essey ’13.
The new policy mandates sanctions, prevention education and leadership training, and formalizes organizations’ responses to individuals found responsible of sexual misconduct.
“It’s a conference of policies addressing sexual misconduct within the Greek community rather than just a sanctioning process,” Sarah Wildes ’13, Panhellenic Council president, said. “Our goal in this was to set the bar high and create a standard of accountability and community principles in doing this.”
The new policy prescribes specific GLC sanctions to address members’ sexual misconduct in addition to COS sanctions. Every new member is required to sign a waiver that allows GLOS to review the student’s record, including information on sanctions applied through COS on sexual misconduct cases.
GLC moderator Duncan Hall ’13 said the policy supports chapter presidents by eliminating the need for internal adjudication processes and standardizing sanction delivery.
“One of the most important recommendations that presidents told me was that they don’t want to spend time adjudicating their peers when they don’t know anything about the case,” Hall said.
Individual fraternities or sororities may still use the internal adjudication system if the sexual assault victim chooses to bring the case before his or her peers instead of COS. If the victim chooses to bring the case before peers, policies like the Panhellenic Council’s move to boycott a fraternity can still go into effect and will last until the fraternity or sorority of the accused individual undergoes internal adjudication procedures.
Affiliated individuals who are suspended or placed on a one-term probation by COS also face social probation, individual education programs to help rehabilitate the student back into the community and restrictions on living and holding leadership positions in the house. Individuals who are suspended or placed on two or more terms of probation by COS are immediately and permanently removed from the Greek organization.
All Greek organizations must enforce the policy and can add additional sanctions to complement the policy’s stipulations.
Greek organizations that do not comply with GLC rules and sanctions are suspended from the GLC, subject to lose GLC funding and may face derecognition from the College, Hall said.
While the policy does not officially apply to retroactive cases, individual Greek houses may use the policy as a guideline to address these cases, Essey said.
Kappa Delta Epsilon sorority president Hannah Decker ’13, who was present at the vote, said the policy indicates that being part of the Greek community is a privilege and that membership requires certain standards, but will not fully address the issue of sexual assault on campus.
“The policy only addresses people who have been adjudicated through the COS process, and sexual assault is under-reported on campus, and so the policy doesn’t address sexual assault that is unreported,” Decker said.
Wildes said the policy does not address under-reported cases, but hopes that it will encourage students to report incidents to COS for adjudication by the College and GLC-mandated sanctions. Additionally, she hopes the policy will decrease current levels of sexual assault by holding students accountable.
Sigma Delta sorority president Heather Beatty ’13 said it is a move in the right direction.
“[Sexual assault] affects my members, and it’s a huge priority for me,” she said. “It’s always on my radar, and I think the policy allows for more continuity in a way that sexual assault is dealt with on the college level and also in our social settings.”
From 2002 to 2012, 33 cases of sexual misconduct were reported to COS. Of these, 12 resulted in student suspensions and 3 resulted in permanent separation from the College, according to the COS Sexual Misconduct Sanctioning Considerations Report. An additional 11 students were found not responsible because of insufficient evidence and four students permanently resigned prior to facing sanctions.
The new policy requires all members of Greek organizations to attend two education sessions, which include Mentors Against Violence facilitations and Dartmouth Bystander Initiative training. Members must attend their first session during their pledge term and the second session during the following summer term. The College currently mandates new members to undergo MAV training during pledge term, and the requirement for the second session will go into effect starting with the Class of 2015 this summer.
Greek presidents and a designated member of each chapter now must undergo leadership training conducted by GLOS and GLC.
“That gives them the tools to handle and orient discussions of sexual misconduct within their chapter,” Wildes said. “Through a lot of discussions and feedback, we’ve heard from presidents that it’s an issue, and they don’t know how to broach the topic in a constructive way.”
Greek organizations that fail to partake in the three mandated education sessions, two education sessions and leadership training session will be denied funding from the GLC and its five member councils.
Prior to the formalized sanctions defined by the proposal, sanctions were delivered through the internal adjudication processes of each individual chapter.
The policy does not provide opportunities for members to appeal GLC sanctions, Hall said.
“If there was, peers would have to adjudicate and that doesn’t work for two reasons: one, because we are not privy to the information that COS uses, and two, we are not equipped to deal with official adjudication standards,” he said.
However, if an individual successfully appeals the COS process, all sanctions imposed by the Greek system will be removed, Hall said.
Representatives of Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity, Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity, Chi Heorot fraternity, Gamma Delta Chi fraternity, Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity, Phi Delta Alpha fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Zeta Psi fraternity did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
This article has been corrected to reflect that fraternity representatives did not respond to comment by press time.