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sexual misconduct   [Clear]    (Found 4)

Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Friday, November 20, 2015 09:17 AM, by Laura Ware Doerre
As a values-based organization and leader on college campuses across North America, Kappa Alpha Theta strives to promote student development and a positive campus culture. Included in this is a belief that all students should live, study, and thrive in a safe and secure environment.

This summer, the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), of which Kappa Alpha Theta is one of 26 members, and the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC), which has over 70 member groups, endorsed the Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act, which were both introduced in the US House of Representatives on July 29. The impetus for this action—as I wrote in a blog post in August—was a desire to address the problem of sexual misconduct on US campuses. The statistics are appalling and unacceptable: there are too many occurrences and too many victims. The status quo must change. Kappa Alpha Theta supported the efforts of NPC and NIC to utilize our collective position of leadership to make a positive change on college campuses through a multi-faceted legislative approach.

Recently, after collaboration with two senators (including a member of Kappa Alpha Theta) who have led the charge in offering legislative solutions to address the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, NPC and NIC agreed to withdraw their endorsement of the current form of the Safe Campus Act. The senators agreed to collaborate with NPC and NIC to continue to support a legislative agenda that, in addition to offering solutions related to sexual assault adjudication, focuses on protecting our right to organize as a single-sex organization, preventing organizations from being penalized for allegations of criminal misconduct which do not directly involve our organizations, and respecting the vital role alumnae play in supporting our students who rely on confidential counsel from their mentors. Kappa Alpha Theta continues to support the efforts of NPC and NIC.

Of ultimate importance is eliminating the problem of sexual assault altogether, and unfortunately that cannot be achieved through legislation alone. Theta has a long tradition of offering not only support for survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence, but also a commitment to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts. Through our award-winning Sisters Supporting Sisters initiative, we connect members to a comprehensive program of educational resources addressing interpersonal violence, healthy relationships and communication, emotional well-being, and more.

Our Fraternity also has a long tradition of respecting the voices and opinions of our members. We are proud of the Thetas who continue to lead discussions on this important topic, and we remain committed to working with our sister groups, NPC, campus professionals, and victims' advocates to develop effective solutions.

Laura Ware Doerre, Delta Xi/North Carolina, is president of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Friday, August 28, 2015 08:10 AM, by Melissa Shaub
The statistics are staggering. While numbers may vary slightly between the U.S. and Canada, many articles have been published indicating as high as 20% (that's one in five) college women will experience sexual violence during her undergraduate career. The Centers for Disease Control define sexual violence as "a sexual act committed against someone without that person's freely given consent." You may think that definition is broad and you are right; it encompasses rape, assault, harassment and more. We also know the news doesn't get much better; in both countries, reporting rates are low and research tells us survivors are far more likely to suffer from additional health issues like alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

While it can certainly feel overwhelming when reading through the statistics, it is important to us to be informed and also discuss our ability to make a difference on such an important issue. Recently, Theta developed a statement about sexual violence that will guide our work to empower our members to be leaders in campus safety. Hence, Kappa Alpha Theta:

  • Supports survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence.

  • Is committed to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts.

  • Does not support events contributing to the objectification/sexualization of groups of people, including women, or the reinforcement of negative gender roles.

  • Works to connect members to resources to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual violence, as well as resources for those members who are survivors of interpersonal violence.

  • Encourages all college chapters to host presentations from campus/professional experts on college/university policies and procedures, as well as prevention and intervention best practices and recommendations on an ongoing, regular basis.

Throughout the next few weeks, we will discuss these issues more in-depth as a part of a social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual violence. Our posts will include more conversation on the issue, how to support survivors, rape supportive culture, and opportunities to be an advocate against sexual violence. We hope you join us in the conversation; we want to hear from you.

Melissa Shaub, Alpha Sigma/Washington State, is the director of education & leadership at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Thursday, August 20, 2015 08:00 AM, by Laura Ware Doerre
Laura Doerre
Fraternity President
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that for every 1,000 women attending a college or university in the United States, there are 35 incidents of rape each academic year (compiled from a 2005 report by the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice). This statistic is appalling and is finally receiving the attention it deserves. As part of our efforts to help combat this problem, member groups of the National Panhellenic Conference—including Kappa Alpha Theta—endorse the Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act of 2015, which were both introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 29.

Institutions of higher education (IHEs) have a responsibility to ensure that all students can live, study, and thrive in a safe and secure environment. But sexual violence allegations on college campuses raise issues that are specific to the fraternity and sorority community. And as values-based organizations and leaders on our campuses, we have a higher calling to promote student development and a positive campus culture.

The Safe Campus Act and the Fair Campus Act provide unprecedented protections to all student victims affected by sexual violence on campus. They are comprehensive in scope, resulting from months of collaboration among leaders of men's and women's fraternities, in consultation with a wide array of subject-matter experts, including law enforcement officials and victims' rights advocates. Their purposes are multi-faceted:

  • Require IHEs to provide sexual violence education and prevention, including reporting, bystander intervention, alcohol use and abuse, and fostering development of healthy interpersonal relationships.

  • Ensure victim safety and security protections by requiring IHEs to devote appropriate resources for the care, support, and guidance of students affected by sexual violence, including prescribing specific sets of options for reporting and victim care strategies.

  • Remove perpetrators of sexual violence from both our campuses and their surrounding communities.

  • Maintain our rights to freedom of association, and preserve the network of support we provide to victims, by preventing IHEs from punishing student organizations, such as fraternities and sororities and their members, without a hearing and due process protections.

  • Reaffirm our right to exist as single-sex organizations.

  • Allow volunteer advisors to student organizations, including our advisory boards, to maintain their traditional role in preserving campus safety by preventing their designation as campus security authorities.

The Safe Campus Act and Fair Campus Act also present a significant opportunity to showcase the value of the membership experience we provide as a leading source of leadership and personal development for college women. Media coverage regarding this initiative has been largely positive (such as this op-ed piece by a San Francisco Chronicle columnist)—a nice change from the trend of the past year. And more to the point, we have an opportunity to play an important role in providing peer-to-peer education regarding sexual violence.

Let's be clear. The ultimate goal is to make this conversation moot. That's why initiatives related to prevention of sexual assault and sexual misconduct are listed first above. I am proud that Theta has a long tradition of offering not only support for survivors of sexual misconduct and sexual violence, but also a commitment to engaging members in prevention and intervention efforts. Through our award-winning Sisters Supporting Sisters initiative, we connect members to a comprehensive program of educational resources addressing interpersonal violence, healthy relationships and communication, emotional well-being, and more. Appreciating that each college campus possesses its own unique culture, we also encourage our chapters to partner with their host institutions to develop programming that meets the needs of their individual campuses. Our education and leadership personnel will continue to work with chapters and among themselves to ensure that we are delivering value through best-in-class programming.

And finally, I would like to encourage everyone, particularly our college women, to join us in a social media campaign. The first six weeks on a college campus are known as the "Red Zone." During the "Red Zone," students, especially first and sometimes second-year students, are at the highest risk of experiencing sexual violence (as compared to the rest of the academic year). Kappa Alpha Theta is participating in NPC's social media campaign from Aug. 17- Sept. 25, during which we will create awareness about the "Red Zone" as well as other campus safety concerns. We encourage you to share, repost, or retweet our messages, or to create your own. (Remember to tag Theta!) The more awareness we create about the "Red Zone," the safer women will be on campuses throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Laura Ware Doerre, Delta Xi/North Carolina, is president of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.

Posted On: Friday, February 13, 2015 12:40 PM, by Laura Ware Doerre
Laura Doerre
Fraternity President
According to the April 2014 White House report Not Alone, sexual assault on college campuses is a growing problem. Most often, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows "and also most often, she does not report what happened. Many survivors are left feeling isolated, ashamed or to blame. Although it happens less often, men, too, are victims of these crimes."

Awareness of sexual misconduct on college campuses is gaining rapidly due to the 2013 passing of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or Campus SaVE Act, an amendment
to the federal Clery Act and a complement to Title IX that prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex, including sexual violence and harassment. According to, "SaVE requires colleges and universities, both public and private, participating in federal student aid programs (covering virtually every campus in the United States) to increase transparency about the scope of sexual violence on campus, guarantee victims enhanced rights, provide for standards in institutional conduct proceedings, and provide campus communitywide prevention educational programming."

Recent media coverage has brought a great deal of attention to the issue of campus sexual misconduct. It has also highlighted the complexity of the issues that surround this important topic. Demands placed upon campus administrators under the Clery Act sometimes create a tension with individual rights and freedoms. Protecting victims while providing due process to the accused can also be a delicate balancing act. And, as we have seen on a number of college campuses, the Greek system can sometimes be an easy target for decisive action on a high-profile issue.

So where does Kappa Alpha Theta fit into all of this? First, the safety of our members is paramount. In fact, our risk management policies include practices designed to protect all aspects of personal safety, including sexual assault issues. We have found that these policies are more comprehensive than the safety measures in place on many college campuses. We will continue to set the bar high when it comes to the safety of our members and others, and we are committed to supporting our collegians as they promote our policies and drive positive cultural change in their respective communities.

Second, Kappa Alpha Theta will defend the rights of our members to freedom of association, and our rights as an organization. At the same time, we are keenly interested in working together with campus administrators to address the topic of sexual misconduct. We want to take actions that are bold and meaningful, that denounce victim blaming, and that encourage bystander intervention and reporting. We are mindful that many campuses are providing exceptional training and programming on this topic, and we do not want to duplicate or even potentially contradict their efforts. We are committed, however, to joining with our peers in the Greek community to lead the charge on our host campuses in addressing this critical problem.

Kappa Alpha Theta is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), a 26-member organization that serves as the national voice on contemporary issues of sorority life. Late last autumn, NPC commissioned a Student Safety and Sexual Assault Awareness Task Force that is charged with researching resources and brain storming avenues for training and prevention. In a statement published in the Washington Post in December, NPC said: "It is absolutely a priority of the sorority community to ensure our campuses are safe for women.... This is an all-student safety issue, not just a Greek-community issue, which will continue to be addressed on local and national levels.... NPC encourages our sorority women to support and care for one another. We will not turn our heads on this important issue, but rather speak up so our voices will be heard and our actions will be noticed." The NPC task force, composed of subject matter experts, is working diligently to compile a comprehensive action plan and submit it for endorsement by NPC within the next few months.

In turn, NPC is a member of the IX for All Coalition, a recently formed group of men's and women's fraternities whose purpose is to ensure the preservation of our single-sex organization exemption under Title IX and the protection of our members and organizations in Title IX- related matters, including those involving campus sexual misconduct issues. The group will pursue a legislative agenda aimed at these topics and will seek strategic partnerships with similarly aligned organizations. The NPC task force plans to partner with the coalition to explore other avenues for influencing the discussion surrounding sexual misconduct.

One of the four aspirations in our strategic plan is to align resources to best execute the mission of Kappa Alpha Theta. We pay dues to NPC, and we provide several volunteers to help execute the work of the Conference. In addressing issues of widespread importance that transcend the boundaries of NPC-member organizations, we believe that leveraging the collective voice of NPC is both the most efficient and the most effective approach. Through NPC, we are committed to being Leading Women in addressing the problem of campus sexual misconduct.

Laura Doerre, Delta Xi/North Carolina, is the president of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity.