An external review of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Oregon affirms concerns about sexual assault within the community, Vice-President of Student Life Robin Holmes said Monday.
Holmes personally requested the report, which examined documents and conversations with campus as well as fraternity and sorority members for issues related to sexual assault. The report came to several conclusions, including the following:
- The FSL community regularly engages in high-risk behaviors, or behaviors that increase the likelihood of sexual assault or harassment. Of these, substance abuse and hazing were cited as key high-risk behaviors.
- FSL leadership reports being ill-equipped to handle these behaviors or specific incidents of sexual harassment due to being all-consumed with behavioral issues. Students expressed frustration that they are expected to handle these problems internally, despite being ill-equipped to do so.
- Sorority members acknowledged a general sense of peer pressure to not report potential incidents of sexual assault due to the negative effect it may have on chapters.
- “Blackout culture,” which the report described as a general acceptance that drinking to the point of blackout regularly is normal, is considered socially advantageous and rarely socially damaging.
- The size and quotas, as well as the inability to remove problem members from chapters, are all factors in the current reality. Staff and faculty express frustration that too many “free passes” have encouraged a lack of accountability within FSL.
The report makes several recommendations as to how to solve for these high-risk behaviors. Most of them fall into the theme of establishing of closer cooperation between FSL leadership, the UO administration and the Office of Student Life to encourage compliance with sexual assault prevention practices.
One step is the implementation of a $100 mandatory fee for fraternity and sorority members that will go toward funding three or four new positions in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life.
The Division of Student Life also is extending a moratorium on new fraternities or sororities colonizing at the UO, and current membership levels will be capped until staffing is increased.
Updates to come.