In response to “Students react in wake of alleged intentional drugging at Sigma Phi Epsilon” published on November 10, 2021:
This is the Sexual Assault Resource Unit’s (SARU) formal statement regarding the drugging that occurred at the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity on the night of October 30th:
The assaults occurring at Greek-held events are not random, and they are not isolated. Greek organizations have incentives to facilitate patriarchal norms and power imbalances that induce gender violence. Sorority members often remain silent about violence experienced by fraternity members to avoid social repercussions within their organization. Sorority members are also the demographic most victimized by fraternity members. The hierarchical arrangement of single-sex spaces creates an environment in which fraternities have control over the distribution of drugs and alcohol at events. This is not a statement about all members of Greek organizations, though it must be acknowledged that there are incentives for members of single-sex spaces to conform to harmful gender roles and opportunities for toxic individuals to occupy positions of power.
The drugging was a reminder of recurrent and systemic problems on our campus: firstly, that the Office of Institutional Equity has not always appropriately handled their investigations, secondly, that the Counseling Center often cannot address the needs of survivors of sexual violence. These problems reflect a set of larger university priorities inconsistent with survivor needs. We think OIE is understaffed, and understaffing causes an increased dismissal of cases, lengthier investigations, and shuffling between investigators. The counseling center is also understaffed, leading to month-long wait times, bouncing between counselors, and survivor re-traumatization from overworked, insensitive staff. This needs to change.
We call on JHU to do the following:
1. Mandate fraternities to perform drink testing at parties. One SipChip™ kit contains 5 single-use tests, for $15. “TEST MY DRINK” offers 10 tests for $7.50; or 1 test for $1.33. For reference, the university currently provides free condoms which cost about a dollar each.
2. If subsequent druggings occur after the implementation of this policy, the university must conduct an immediate investigation and issue appropriate disciplinary action.
3. The Office of the Provost must hire more staff to work for OIE, especially out of concern for the multiplicity of incidents at Greek-held events.
4. The Counseling Center must employ sexual violence trauma-informed medical professionals who can deliver immediate and proper care to survivors battling serious trauma.
We look forward to meeting with university administrators to satisfy these demands.
SARU Executive Board
Eleanor Franklin, Co-Director
Erica Kent, Co-Director
Robab Vaziri, Outreach Co-Chair
Natalie Wang, Outreach Co-Chair
Sonomi Oyagi, Events Co-Chair
Natalia Camargo, Events Co-Chair
Niki Trivedi, Events Co-Chair
Lily An, Secretary
Isabelle Trentchev, PR Co-Chair
Sarah Adkins, PR Co-Chair
Reshmi Patel, Hotline Chair
Elizabeth Jones, Treasurer