As Purdue tried to move back to normalcy for the first time since the pandemic, functions between fraternities and sororities were a part of that. Starting at the beginning of this semester, Greek Life was allowed to have outdoor functions without masks. Unfortunately, the return of functions brought an extreme increase in reports of sexual assault cases in chapter facilities.
In response to the increase of reports at fraternity houses, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) will require all Purdue fraternities to attend a program designed to open discussion and to prevent sexual misconduct. This program will be run by Catharsis Productions on October 17. Every fraternity must have at least 95% attendance at this event, or their chapter will be fined $5,000.
The Catharsis program will focus on challenging oppressive attitudes and shifting behavior. They will run two programs, “Sex Signals” and “The Hook Up.” According to Catharsis, “Sex Signals” will touch on topics like “ending rape culture, stopping victim blaming, and consent.” This program examines what role culture and privilege play in justifying unhealthy beliefs about what is acceptable social and sexual behavior. “The Hook Up” will be an audience-participation program that clarifies when “hooking up” is actually sexual violence and how bystanders can protect potential victims from predators. If fraternity members do not pay attention during either program, they will be fined $5,000 according to IFC.
All twenty-one Panhellenic Association sororities released a letter to the Greek Life community on October 1 stating that they will abstain from co-hosting functions at or with an Interfraternity Council chapter until after the sexual conduct program. The letter also asked IFC chapters to evaluate their educational practices, update their internal accountability measures, and create a plan of action to create a safe and respectful environment at functions.
Purdue students have been very vocal about the need for change and accountability within the Fraternity, Sorority, and Cooperative Life community. Instagram account @metoopurdue has gone viral, sharing posts anonymously submitted by people who have been sexually assaulted by Purdue fraternity members. The account has over 4,000 followers who describe themselves as “students calling for an end to rape culture at Purdue University.”
After the sexual assault prevention programs on October 17, sororities can choose to begin functioning with fraternities again. However, the letter from Panhellenic stated that if a Panhellenic woman is disrespected at an IFC chapter after this date, all Panhellenic women will abstain from participating in functions at or with that chapter for a period of three weeks.
By Sarah Peterson