GW’s ‘fairly typical’ Greek community highlighted in the New York Times

GW came under the national spotlight Monday in a New York Times article that explored a unique idea to help stop sexual assault: allowing sororities to have alcohol in their houses.

With national experts saying many sexual assaults on college campuses occur in fraternity houses, a Times reporter asked female students whether they would feel safer at a sorority-hosted party.

“I’ve been to parties run by girls, and they’re much more protective – they keep an eye on each other,” junior Amber McLeod told the Times. “At frat parties, it’s more of a hunting ground. Not all guys are like this, of course, but sometimes it feels like the lions standing in the background and looking at the deer. And then they go in for the kill.”

The University is noted in the article for its “fairly typical Greek presence.” The Greek community makes up about one-third of the undergraduate population and hasn’t had any “high-profile” sexual assault cases, though one assault was reported at Phi Sigma Kappa’s townhouse in the fall.

The Times reported about GW: “While students have options for where to imbibe, from dorm parties to off-campus bars, fraternities have a disproportionate presence in campus social life, some students said, mostly because of the free-flowing alcohol.”

Members of GW’s Greek community are typically not allowed to speak to the media or must receive permission first from their national organizations. Panhellenic Association President Mollie Bowman and Interfraternity Council President Tim Stackhouse did not immediately return requests for comment about the article.

The piece also highlighted schools like the University of Virginia, which made headlines after Rolling Stone published a controversial feature about a gang rape that allegedly occurred in a fraternity on its campus.

Experts in the Times article questioned whether sorority-hosted parties would change the culture surrounding sexual assault. Many sororities are not allowed to purchase alcohol for events, and more parties could mean more alcohol abuse, the experts said.

Many sororities at GW register events, like formal, with GW officials so they are able to serve alcohol at a cash bar. Depending on their national organization’s rules, sororities may not be allowed to host events in their townhouses where alcohol is served.

In the past two months, seven Greek organizations on campus have faced sanctions for violations like hazing and underage drinking.

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