Sororities ban degrading party themes

By Eliza Macdonald

Contributing Writer

Sorority presidents have decided to take a stand against degrading party themes with the help of the Panhellenic Council and the Women’s Resource Center (WRC).

On March 5 at the Something of Value program, a National Panhellenic Conference event, the presidents of each sorority on campus were forced to look at the growing rates of excessive alcohol consumption and sexual assault and assess their plans for decreasing these rates.

“We felt that the easiest and most obvious place to start would be to ban inappropriate party themes,” said Heather Parmelee ’12, president of Alpha Chi Omega.

Parmalee, along with the other chapter presidents, all agreed this small change could be the beginning to their plans to create a safer and empowering environment for both men and women.

The chapter presidents came back from their Panhellenic retreat with an official memorandum stating their stand on offensive party themes and presented it to the Interfraternity Council (IFC).

“We have known for many years that there are plenty of students who have not appreciated the party themes that are derogatory toward women, and it is great to see the women taking a stand and asking IFC to do the same,” said Tracy Shaynak, director of the Women’s Resource Center.

The chapter presidents and WRC hope the change will improve campus climate be a first step toward lessening the recent problems with sexual assault.

“My hopes for the future include continuing to work together with the other sorority presidents, Panhellenic Council, IFC and the rest of the campus community to try and mitigate the issue of sexual assault one step at a time here at Bucknell,” said Izzy Catalano ’12, president of Delta Gamma.

The Something of Value program pushes each college sorority organization to address their specific issues and take their ideas and thoughts and put them to action.

The sororities do not intend to enforce any dress code, but they will not tolerate offensive and degrading party themes. They have threatened to boycott parties with such themes.

“It is not intended to place the blame on the fraternity men in any way. The best way to move forward from this point is for fraternities and sororities to simply agree to uphold this pact together and be jointly responsible for the increased safety and awareness that we seek,” said Anna MacAlister ’12, president of the Panhellenic Council.

Discussions have also started between the Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council about better educating males and females to better prevent future assault from happening.

“It is not easy to speak up against the status quo, but it is a critical step in creating and supporting an environment where our women and men are as equal and respected at a party on Friday night as they are in the classroom on Friday morning,” Shaynak said.

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