URBANA, Ill. (AP) — New bylaws from the University of Illinois fraternities’ governing board will require all chapters to train their members on how to intervene to prevent sexual assault.
The change from the university’s student-run Interfraternity Council requires all 42 campus fraternities to teach every second-year member about “bystander intervention.” That’s in addition to the two sexual-assault-prevention programs already mandated for all students on campus.
The council suggests that chapters use the “ICARE” program offered by the university. Some fraternities and other groups already use the program voluntarily. Fraternities will also be able to use programs designed by their national organizations.
The council’s president, David Kessler, said education alone won’t eliminate the problem. But he said it’ll better equip fraternity members to intervene when they see people in compromising situations.
“With an increase in the amount of reported sexual violence every year on this campus and a significant percentage of those incidents occurring in our chapter houses, we consider it our responsibility as a council to do everything in our part to make our community a part of the solution and not part of the problem,” said Ben Samborn, the council’s vice president of risk management.
Professor Nicole Allen, who led a campus sexual assault survey last year, said a big part of sexual assault prevention is encouraging different communities to take it seriously and address it within their own groups.
“What it means in terms of practice will make all the difference, but I think it’s an incredibly important step in changing the face of this as a social issue,” Allen said.
Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com