Berkeley Bans Fraternity, Sorority Parties over Sexual Assault Allegations

The University of California Berkeley’s Greek system has imposed a ban on all fraternity and sorority parties, following reports of two sexual assaults last week at off-campus frat functions.

The new restrictions are also a response to several sexual harassment incidents in the news lately,including the high-profile case of former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman outside of a party.

“We needed to take some time off and really assess our situation,” Interfraternity Council President Daniel Saedi, a 21-year-old senior at Berkeley, told the Los Angeles Times. “These are grave acts of violence that are occurring. They have no place anywhere in this country, let alone on college campuses.”

There is reportedly no timeline for the ban which Saedi referred to as “relatively unprecedented.”

The UC Berkeley Fraternity Council posted the announcement on its Facebook page:

The members of the Executive Board of the Interfraternity Council at the University of California, Berkeley, on behalf of our 1,500 constituents, wish to express our condemnation of the vile and unjust incidents that have recently occurred in our community. While we have no reason to believe that these were committed by fraternity men on this campus, it is still disheartening and alarming that they have occurred on fraternity property. We wish to reiterate our pledge to eliminate sexual violence from our community and reaffirm our commitment to our members and students of Berkeley to provide a safe environment for all.

At the same time, we recognize the immense courage it took for the survivors to report these crimes and will do everything in our power to respect their privacy and their wishes. The IFC has voluntarily decided to suspend all social events until we can reevaluate our risk management practices and care for those who have been affected.

According to the Times, Berkeley police said that two female students reported assaults at off-campus fraternity parties last weekend. Further, Berkeley’s crime statistics reportedly indicate 22 reported rapes on-campus or in student housing and four rapes that were reported off-campus last year.

Berkeley’s Chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, announced in August that he would resign from his post once a replacement is found. Dirks had faced criticism over his handling of a series of sexual abuse complaints on campus as well as being the center of several scandals.

The Times points out that in 2014, Emory University in Atlanta’s Interfraternity Council similarly voluntarily issued a self-imposed suspension of all their social activities after a reported sexual assault on the campus.

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