Sigma Chi is set to unveil its newest Journey chapter development module to its undergraduate chapters this fall. Called the Sexual Misconduct Journey, the program teaches brothers how to avoid engaging in actions that could put themselves, their chapters and others at risk.
Order of Constantine Sig Ed Spencer, ROCHESTER 1967, spearheaded the creation of the program alongside Sigma Chi International Fraternity Headquarters staff using curriculum developed by James R. Favor and Co., one of the largest insurance providers in the Greek-letter world. While Sigma Chi’s other Journey modules have addressed how to approach challenges that face undergraduate chapters such as improving recruitment strategies and reconnecting disinterested members with the Fraternity, the Sexual Misconduct Journey is the first to provide Sigs an opportunity to discuss the dangers of alleged sexual impropriety in an organized, chapter-wide manner.
“Many [of our undergraduates] dismiss [the need for the program] out of hand, saying ‘I would never assault a woman,’” says Spencer, who is chairman of Sigma Chi’s Journey Operating Board, and worked as the vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech during his 42-year career in education. “But they don’t realize that they may be doing things that, while they don’t rise to the level of assault, they are certainly inappropriate. And they need to be made aware of that.”
The Journey uses case studies drawn from events that took place at Sigma Chi chapters to show that even good intentions could put those involved at risk. For instance, one scenario describes a risk manager who notices a freshman sorority pledge who is overly intoxicated and stumbling while attending a party at the chapter house. Concerned for her safety, he grabs a bottle of water and leads her to his bedroom, where he leaves her to fall asleep on his bed.
What the risk manager doesn’t realize, though, is that when the sorority pledge wakes up, she may only have a hazy memory of being led upstairs to his bedroom, and be unable to remember exactly what happened after that. If she confides in her sisters or the Greek Life office that she believes she could have been assaulted because she woke up in a man’s bed, the university will be compelled to investigate Mark as a suspected perpetrator of sexual assault, thanks to recently reauthorized federal legislation.
While it is important to keep all of those who visit the chapter house safe, Spencer stresses that it is imperative for undergraduates to have the courage to tell their brothers to not take actions that could lead to poor outcomes.
“One very important part of the Journey is covering bystander intervention. We really are our brothers’ keepers,” says Spencer. “It’s important that people understand when it’s time to step in.”
To learn more about the Sexual Misconduct Journey that will be available for undergraduate chapters in fall 2014, contact senior director of membership development, Jim Cogdal, BRADLEY 2003, at (847) 869-3655, ext. 253, or jim.cogdal@sigmachi.org.