UBC fraternity members will now have to complete a yearly training session on consent, bystander intervention and healthier masculinity.
The Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) — the executive body that represents all 10 fraternities, or approximately 1,514 members — unanimously enacted a bylaw change requiring the programming at a meeting Tuesday night.
The initiative began with a push to better educate executives of the Greek system on dealing with sexual misconduct within the community. For the first time this past October, all executives and new members of the fraternities had to attend a session hosted by the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre (SASC).
According to IFC President Jamie Gill, 100 per cent of new members and executives and 72 per cent of the total membership attended the sessions, meaning a significant number of members chose to attend even though it wasn’t mandatory.
With this high response rate, the IFC they felt it was a logical next step to update the bylaw to ask entire chapters to come in subsequent years.
“We don’t have a lot of red tape to cross [like other bodies] — when we want something to get done and it’s for the right reasons, we get the stuff done,” said Gill.
Alex Dauncey, who heads the SASC’s Healthier Masculinities program, created the custom program just for the fraternities by combining three pillars: consent, bystander intervention and healthier masculinity. He worked with Gill to present the information in a way that would be familiar and helpful to the Greek community.
“The idea of doing this more makes me really, really excited. And really inspired that this group of people, they’re taking it seriously,” said Dauncey. “And it’s the biggest thing that they can do is take it seriously.”
Failure of a fraternity to complete the yearly training by the November 1 — meaning that if at the end of the available sessions throughout October, some members have not attended — will result in a $1,000 fine, to be donated to the SASC.
“The idea right now is if there is one member of a 100-man chapter who doesn’t feel motivated to come to these seminars, that he would maybe feel motivated by a $1,000 fine,” said Gill, “... and the way that Alex runs these, is that if you’re there with closed ears, you’ll still hear stuff, which is amazing.”
A key part of the workshop focuses on creating positive norms and a “new standard,” something that Dauncey notes will be key to dismantling campus sexual assault culture.
“Because we can have a one-time discussion about it. But that’s just a one-time discussion — how is this going to seep into what they do? How are they going to take this up and really make it a part of their identity?”