Monday, November 3, 2014

Enough Is Enough

You can say what you will about hazing, but at this point it is clear that there are bigger issues happening on Emory’s campus.  Pledging a fraternity is a decision that individuals make, the majority of whom are fully aware of the gravity of that decision.  What goes on in fraternity basements may seem cruel and unusual, even scary to outsiders, but the recurring issue of sexual abuse on campus is more alarming than any instance of eating dog food or drinking vodka.  Sexual assault simply cannot be tolerated on a college campus.
            What is nauseating about the current situation is that there is no obvious solution.  It is easy to throw a house off campus or expel an individual when they commit a heinous act, but it shouldn’t come down to that.  The issue at hand is clearly one of culture; sexual assault cannot be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  This is a campus-wide issue.  It should be a basic right of students to feel safe on the campus they call home for four years.  Nobody wants to live in constant fear of their personal wellbeing.
            I am impressed with IFC’s swift reaction to the most recent case—we cannot continue to support a culture that breeds disrespect and neglect.  It would be na├»ve to dismiss this social freeze as the many taking the fall for the actions of a few.  This issue is one that continues to arise and will not cease to do so until it is addressed directly.  Finally a governing body at Emory has decided to attack a problem at its heart.
            We are the ones with the power here.  Whether or not fraternities continue to be a significant presence at Emory and across the country remains to be seen, but, the manner in which the student body acts socially must change.  This is an opportunity for the community as a whole to grow.  Instead of erasing problems when they occur, we have to take actions to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
The entire campus would benefit from education on sexual assault; I know I’m hardly educated on the subject, at least not formally.  I’ve been lectured on drinking responsibly, and the proper use of condoms, and birth control on countless occasions, but I’ve never been exposed to healthy dialogue regarding sexual assault and its prevention.  It is our responsibility as students to respect our peers and foster a community that values the safety of its constituents.  IFC has shown that it is ready to make swift and powerful motions to change the ugly reality that current students are living in.

            In a culture where, for many, a night out means getting blackout and going to Maggie’s; in a culture where, for many, sexual conquest is glorified above all else; in a culture where, for many, the campus feels like anything but home; it is our duty to reevaluate how we interact with the people around us.  I’d like to personally thank IFC for taking such a strong stand against the abuse that plagues campuses across the country.  This is no longer about institutions or organizations; this is about community.  We need to save ours before it’s too late.