A new report released this week from the University of Oregon found that the school’s sexual assault problem may be due to the nature of its Greek system.
According to the report, an increasing number of UO students are joining fraternities and sororities, with more houses currently planned to arrive on campus. One recommendation from the sexual assault task force that compiled this report is to halt this growth, calling the expansion “irresponsible.”
“We cannot ignore the fact that, despite the relatively small number of students directly involved in their activities, Athletics and Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) play disproportionately powerful roles in facilitating or tolerating conditions in which sexual violence occurs on campus,” the report states.
A campus-wide sexual assault survey released earlier this month found that male OU Greeks were 3.5 times and female OU Greeks were nearly two times more likely than non-Greeks to have experienced some form of non-consensual sexual contact.
Put another way, as student newspaper The Daily Emerald writes, “48.1% of females and 23.6% of males in Fraternity and Sorority Life have experienced non-consensual sexual contact. Females not in FSL reported 33.1%, and male 7.9%.”
Additionally, according to the survey, Greek women “were 3.4 times more likely than their non-Greek counterparts to have experienced an attempted or completed rape.”
The report quotes a recent interview with Oklahoma State University professor John Foubert — a college sexual assault researcher — who says about his research:
Before they got to college, fraternity men were no different from other male students. They committed the same number of incidents of sexual assaults before college. But here’s the difference. Guys who joined a fraternity then committed three times as many sexual assaults as those who didn’t join. It is reasonable to conclude that fraternities turn men into guys more likely to rape.
It remains to be seen what decisions the UO administration will make about the future of the university’s Greek system.
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