STORY BY SARAH GROSSMAN
Students, faculty and staff were informed via email on Oct. 16, Drake University is under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for its handling of a sexual assault case.
While this may suggest questionable attitudes regarding awareness and recognition of sexual assault, one organization trying to educate its members on sexual assault and other health and safety issues.
Drake’s chapter of Theta Chi, Gamma Tau, joined the Sacred Purpose Movement, a national Theta Chi movement. This movement is designed to educate members on how to assist and protect members by teaching them how to stay healthy and safe in a college setting.
With the movement came a new position in the governing system of the fraternity. Adam Graves is the first vice president of health and safety for the Gamma Tau chapter.
With Graves’s urging, Gamma Tau recently announced its support of “It’s on Us,” a national movement to raise awareness for sexual violence prevention.
To support “It’s on Us,” people can pledge to keep others safe from sexual assault and to not be a bystander.
Graves believed it was an important commitment for the chapter to make.
“Here, at Drake, I would say we are involved in the ‘Its on Us’ campaign,” Graves said. “It was done by the White House, initially … They (Drake) backed us up, and that led to Alysa Mozak (coordinator for sexual violence response and healthy relationship promotion) creating a committee with us, and now we are discussing that.”
Graves is hoping to involve other students around campus.
“There’s a Facebook event. We want to make a PSA on ‘It’s on Us’ and have various organizations back it. They have two dates they want students to come talk about it, and make a video,” Graves said. “We might make a photo collage.”
Shawn Bennett, director of health and safety programing for Theta Chi nationals and a Drake graduate, explained the motivation behind the Sacred Purpose Movement.
“For us, as a fraternity, the most important thing is that our members have great lives,” Bennett said. “That they are healthy, safe and just have a great sense of well-being.”
“That’s kind of the motivation for us.”
Bennett explained the idea for the fraternity’s creation of the Sacred Purpose Movement came from the Theta Chi members.
“It was actually an idea that was inspired by an idea of undergraduate chapter presidents from around the country. They gave us the basic structure,” Bennett said. “The national chapter fine-tuned it and made it was it is today.”
Bryce Lynn, president of the Gamma Tau chapter, acknowledged the importance of the movement.
“I think the biggest thing that it has done for me is help me get a lot more out of our organization,” Lynn said. “It’s helped me build stronger relationships with the people in Theta Chi. It’s really important to have those relationships at Drake.”
Lynn also pointed out the positive impact the Sacre Purpose Movement is having on the chapter.
“It allows us to really open up and talk about a lot of issues that people might not be comfortable coming out and saying on their own,” Lynn said.
Graves explained that now Theta Chi can be active on campus and create programs beneficial to all students.
“The whole Sacred Purpose Movement is improving the health of our brothers’ lives, as well as bringing awareness to the whole campus, whether that is through a guest speaker, awareness campaigns, one-on-one relationships with each other, making sure we each have a connection that if a problem arises,” Graves said.
With all the fraternity stereotypes, Lynn knows that this is important for Theta Chi.
“Being a fraternity, there are a lot of perks to it and a lot of things that go on,” Lynn said. “When you join, people don’t really think, ‘This is somewhere I could go and immediately talk about things in my life.’ They might take a while to open up to other people,” Lynn said. “I think it allows people to not feel like they need to be tough all the time.”