Last semester, the Interfraternity Council temporarily suspended all fraternity parties and social events after the release of crime alerts reporting multiple instances of drugging and a sexual assault allegation. Two weeks later, IFC continued the ban for the rest of the fall semester, including formals.
On Wednesday night, IFC President Rocco DeLorenzo and Kara Miller, director of sorority and fraternity life, sent out a message to IFC chapter presidents regarding the new system in place coming into the Spring semester.
“Since November, the IFC Executive Board and myself have been working diligently to put together a plan for systems that place even more emphasis on sexual violence prevention, enhanced risk management and increased accountability within the IFC community,” DeLorenzo said in a statement to The Sun.
Alongside making other reforms with the University administration in previous years, the email recognized that there is still more work to be done to continue making Cornell a safer community.
“The Cornell Interfraternity Council has zero tolerance for the type of behaviors reported in November,” DeLorenzo and Miller wrote in their email obtained by The Sun. “We believe that these changes will provide a safer experience for our campus community.”
Chapter presidents attended a social event training where they discussed a new checklist of items that chapters must complete before registering their social events for the Spring semester. Fraternities on temporary suspensions are not permitted to hold events.
To continue increasing training amongst members of chapters, Cornell has enhanced a partnership with Consent Ed, working to establish a “train the trainer” program. Each chapter is required to complete the training annually, starting Spring 2023.
The “train the trainer” program allows for honest conversations amongst group members pertaining to consent and teaching bystander intervention skills. These conversations enable individuals to protect other members by ensuring their safety.
Alongside Consent Ed, fraternities will undergo training from Cayuga’s Watchers. Additionally, chapters will have to re-educate members on current risk management and social policies before receiving approval for social events. They must also participate in an updated sexual violence prevention training.
“Chapter leaders and advisors will sign off on their knowledge of the policy and updates for the spring 2023 semester and submit a document that their chapter will complete to improve risk management practices,” DeLorenzo and Miller wrote in their email.
Amongst the new training protocols, IFC is launching a new peer accountability model where student leaders will monitor fraternity events. One member of each chapter will join the peer monitoring team. Some will serve as facilitators for the Consent Ed training program, and others can apply to become a Cayuga’s Watcher trainer.
After completing all the steps on the social event checklist, chapters can register for social events by showing that they are signed up for a training session this semester for both Consent Ed and Cayuga’s Watchers. To confirm these items are done, they need signatures from their chapter advisor and chapter officers.
Continuing on measures of protecting students’ health and safety at social events, IFC is also implementing four new initiatives — event co-hosting requirements, additional signage, a public space to store belongings and an industry-wide risk management practice.
For event co-hosting requirements, each organization — sorority and fraternity — will have to engage in a pre-event meeting to provide communication and risk management expectations.
Stickers will be posted in social event areas in the chapter houses for guests and members to find campus health and safety resources. Fraternities will establish a coat room or rack near the entrance to keep belongings in a central, public space, continuously checked on by sober monitors.
Chapters will have to undergo reinforced training and event checks to discuss requiring wristbands for guests, creating guest lists, participating in Cornell’s Good Samaritan Protocol and upgrading sober monitor responsibilities.
“I understand and appreciate the practicality of these [measures],” said Jenny Krush ’24, “but how effective will it be in the long run?”
According to DeLorenzo, this path forward goes beyond lifting the ban, but gives the Cornell community an opportunity to build their culture of care and compassion.
“[As] someone who has just joined a sorority, I’m obviously very happy that they are undergoing measures … I was definitely concerned for the general community and obviously we have had a problem here for a while, and I’m glad that they are taking certain steps,” said Alyssa Serebrenik ’26. “But I definitely don’t think those steps are going to eliminate anything, but hopefully we will see improved results.”
Through these changes, IFC hopes the environment will become safer, according to Miller.
“It is our hope that with these enhanced expectations and requirements, as well as through partnership with our members, we will create meaningful change and provide a safer environment for our entire campus community,” Miller said in a statement to The Sun.
Concluding the email was a reaffirmation that the University is providing support services to the survivors and those impacted by the violations.
“We want to once again affirm the courage of the survivors who came forward and condemn all actions of sexual assault and related misconduct,” DeLorenzo and Miller wrote in their email. “Crime is never the fault of those who are victimized.”
DeLorenzo and Miller encouraged those who need support to use the various resources and services available on campus, including the Sexual Harassment and Assault – Response and Education Office Victim Advocacy Program.
“As an IFC community,” DeLorenzo and Miller wrote in their email, “this is our opportunity to educate our members and provide safer events for all members of the Cornell community.”