Student-led sexual assault prevention group to create resource book, leadership session

Media Credit: Eric Lee | Photographer

Ruchika Sharma, the working group’s sexual assault prevention chair, said the group is developing an education guide featuring a directory of sexual assault resources.

Updated: Jan. 25, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.

A group of sorority and fraternity leaders wants every student organization to undergo sexual assault prevention training.

Greek leaders said members of a working group tasked with enforcing sexual assault prevention training are rolling out a sexual assault prevention education handbook and a new Excellence in Leadership Seminar. The changes expand upon recommendations that Panhel’s sexual assault prevention task force – which was institutionalized last year – initially proposed in 2017.

“The working group is a vital part of the effort to ensure students’ safety and security on GW’s campus and as well as providing support to all survivors,” Panhellenic Association President Izzy Griffith said in an email.

The working group will also launch a “peer education” service this semester for Greek life leaders to provide members with trainings and educational materials on sexual assault prevention. Chapters will also be required to complete a sober monitor compact promising that members will comply with mandates for those not drinking alcohol at social events, like possibly wearing a pin or lanyard to be easily identified, student leaders said.

Ruchika Sharma, the working group’s sexual assault prevention chair, said the group is developing an education guide featuring a directory of sexual assault resources from GW, student organizations and other organizations in the DMV area.

The book will be submitted to the Center for Student Engagement for approval and will be released to the public later this semester, she said.

Sharma added that the group will partner with the Student Association to create a requirement for registered student organizations to complete an annual sexual assault “conversation.” Students could participate in a panel, training or workshop to fulfill an Excellence in Leadership seminar requirement, she said.

“For Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association chapters, there will be a chapter attendance requirement which will be outlined in an addition to the two governing council’s constitutions and bylaws,” Sharma said in an email.

Hannah Goldstein, the SA’s director of Panhellenic Greek Affairs, said she is working with Sharma and SA President Ashley Le to implement sexual assault prevention trainings in ELS sessions by the end of the semester.

“I understand that many members of student organizations do not attend these sessions as they are mainly marketed towards the executive boards of student organizations,” Goldstein said in an email. “Once the requirement is hopefully passed, I will continue to work closely with the Panhellenic Association and the SA to market the sessions to all members of student organization life.”

Hannah Blandon, the vice president of membership development for the Panhellenic Association, said the working group will expand in March to include new members who joined Greek life during recruitment this month. She said members of the working group also want to expand across Greek councils to develop more sexual assault prevention strategies.

The working group will also partner with Students Against Sexual Assault and GW and D.C. officials to promote the group’s efforts, but she did not specify what their collaboration will entail.

“With this, new members are the main drive for accomplishing many of the goals this semester,” Blandon said in an email.

This post was updated to reflect the following clarifications:
Language was added to this post to clarify that Panhel’s task force on sexual assault prevention, not the working group, issued recommendations in 2017. The working group stemmed from the original task force but is not the same group. Language was also added to clarify that the sober monitor compact will dictate that chapters follow mandates for students who do not drink at social events, though the specific requirements have not yet been decided.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
A previous version of this post incorrectly listed the title of the Excellence in Leadership Seminar. It is now correct. We regret this error.

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