College fraternities–they just escape the campus "rape-culture" police
First they're targeted as hotbeds of sexual assault. And now they're targeted for trying to combat sexual assault.
Fraternnity houses at Northwestern University are now under fire for observing Sexual Assault Awareness Month this past April by hanging….sexual assault awareness banners from their balconies.
Yes, you read that right. According to Inside Higher Education, the banners bore such slogans as "This is Everyone's Problem" and "Theta Chi Stand Against Sexual Assault."
For their efforts the brothers got a scolding from Jessica Schwalb, a columnist for the campus newspaper, the Daily Northwestern:
A congratulations is hardly in order, however. Conversations about sexual assault within fraternities must continue beyond a single month of awareness or solitary presentation from Sexual Health and Assault Peer Educators or Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault. Fraternity men must hold friends accountable or else their banners are just cruel reminders that attempts to change sexual culture in fraternities are purely symbolic.
Schwalb's column and other criticism from campus feminists prompted a breast-beating apology from Northwestern's Inter-Fraternity Council, according to the Daily Northwestern:
The banners were not designed to be a comprehensive solution, but rather “a first step in a long-term vision to bring awareness to an important social issue,” the IFC Executive Board said in a statement released Monday night.
“We recognize now how this campaign may have been emotionally triggering for survivors, and we want to make a deep, genuine apology for anyone that may have been affected,” the board said in the statement. “This was not our intent, but it is our fault for not being cognizant enough and not considering how it might affect others in our community.”
IFC president Will Altabef said the program will be a “continuing education” plan for fraternity brothers and that a pilot version was rolled out earlier this quarter….
Altabef added that he will discourage the next IFC president from hanging the banners next year.
Altabef said the IFC plans to expand a pilot program in which every Greek pledge class at Northwestern receives a visit from Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault. But even that doesn't satisfy some of the fraternities' critics. One student told the Daily Northwestern that the Greek houses needed to schedulre year-around re-education sessions focusing on " the kind of culture change that needs to happen for any sort of banner like that not to be ultimately hypocritical.”