Speak UP Bucknell offers new program

Katey Duffy, Writer

Three fraternity men took action to create a plan which will ideally prevent sexual assault on the University’s campus.

A new program titled Speak UP Bucknell Fraternity Ally Training created during the spring of 2014 intends to make the campus social scene safer for all students.

Former Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Jon Como ’14, current President of Sigma Phi Epsilon Kevin Quindlen ’15, and IFC Representative Will Evans ’15, with the help of Assistant Director of Fraternity Affairs Glenn Skinner and Interpersonal Violence Prevention Coordinator Padma Ravichandran, designed a program that will educate males about sexual violence prevention. This program is a way for men to become more aware about the issue of sexual assault. The ultimate goal of the program is to spur a change in culture on campus in which men and women stand together.

“I think programs such as the Speak UP Bucknell Fraternity Ally Training have the potential to build a critical mass of students who are interested, passionate, and skilled to engage in sexual violence prevention, which will eventually lead to a culture change,” Ravichandran said.

The group of 12 men met for an hour and a half each week throughout a six-week period. Scenarios were designed to make the program realistic and relatable. The discussion-based meetings focused on bystander intervention, rape culture, sexual violence, and survivor support.

Men are often seen as sexual assault perpetrators and there is pressure in a fraternity setting to stay quiet as a bystander. However, research performed by the group showed that if one man has the courage to stand up and prevent a sexual assault, others would follow his example, creating strength in numbers.

The program differs from Speak UP Bucknell in that it is the only gendered group of campus discussing sexual assault topics. So far the participants have responded with very positive feedback, and these men are hoping to be strong role models to the rest of the men in their chapters. They dedicated their time and effort, and they hope to gain more participants next fall.

“All of the men in the pilot program chose to be there and understood from the beginning that they were committed to attending each meeting,” Evans said.

“I’m so proud of how great it went, although I’m pleasantly not surprised. I believe most men on campus care about the issue and want to be empowered to do something about it, and this is a great opportunity for doing that,” Polly Englot ’16 said

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