Beginning this weekend, members and alumni of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity will launch an educational initiative, hosting programs to address concerns regarding sexual assault and alcohol abuse on campus.
The proposals and events were assembled over the summer. Scott Karsten ’74, a brother and former attorney for the fraternity, explained why he decided to assist with the planning.
“I was aware when the Psi [Upsilon] litigation was filed in April and also about the Beta [Theta Pi] incident a few years ago,” Karsten said. “We felt as though we were in a position to make a contribution to combat [sexual assault and alcohol abuse].”
In May, Karsten, as well as other alums, including Dennis Robinson ’79 and Dave Thomas ’77, reached out to a few different groups for assistance. He identified Dr. Stephen Taylor, M.D., M.P.H and John D. Foubert, Ph.D. and explained that these two individuals have had previous success with their programs “Safe and Sober” and “One in Four,” respectively.
In August, Karsten told University President Michael Roth and the Board of Trustees that DKE would proceed with such educational programs. According to Karsten, the University showed complete support.
On Wednesday, Sept. 10, DKE issued a press release explaining its upcoming events, as well as its intention to take a leadership role in addressing these concerns by offering two programs for students. Each of the programs has a distinct mission and has proven successful at other universities.
The “Safe and Sober” program is an educational tool that highlights positive decision-making and safe behaviors with alcohol. The objective is to decrease the prevalence of alcohol abuse and binge drinking on campus, as well as the violent incidents that can occur as a result. According to the press release, this is the first time a university fraternity has reached out to the “Safe and Sober” initiative.
Taylor, who will be on campus this Saturday and Sunday, will present the “Safe and Sober” event in Exley Science Center. The workshop is designed to raise awareness of the issue of alcohol abuse on campus. President of DKE Terence Durkin ’16 explained the initiative and what he hopes it will accomplish.
“The ‘Safe and Sober’ campus initiative is an intervention program and workshop designed to raise awareness and galvanize students to decrease the prevalence of alcohol abuse and binge drinking on campus and to decrease…devastating public health and safety consequences of this abuse,” Durkin said.
The program will be presented to all undergraduates in the DKE, Psi Upsilon, and Beta Theta Pi fraternities; the Rho Epsilon Pi sorority; and approximately seven hundred male and female scholar-athletes at the University.
“The undergraduates [involved in Greek life] were told this is a mandatory session,” Karsten said. “The athletes are strongly encouraged to attend. Their coaches will be there as well.”
The other program, “One in Four,” will commence on Saturday, Oct. 4, with the intention of combating sexual assault and rape, among other issues. Durkin explained that the program aims to instill a sense of bystander responsibility.
“[‘One in Four’ has] the aim to increase the likelihood of bystander intervention and challenge men to change their own behaviors and influence the behaviors of others,” Durkin said.
Foubert will lead this program, and his presentation strategies will be based on statistical research. Similar to the “Safe and Sober” event, this program will be available to members of the men’s fraternities on campus as well as the Rho Epsilon Pi sorority.
“[According to the doctors,] the results have led to statistical reductions of numbers of reported sexual assaults on campus,” Karsten said.
In addition to these programs, DKE will be also be implementing other changes. These changes include regular meetings between undergraduates and alumni to develop a range of diverse social and academic programs at the University; reestablishment of its eating club to enhance student and faculty accessibility and inclusion within the fraternity; and fundraising with Rho Epsilon Pi with the goal of establishing a residential space for the sorority.
DKE has also proposed a housing liaison position at the University to work with other Greek organizations, as well as the administration, to improve relations with academic and social communities within the University.
“The DKE brothers are looking forward to attending both programs,” said former president of DKE Peter George ’15. “We believe the programs will be very beneficial for all students who attend, regardless of whether they are affiliated with Greek life or not. DKE remains a part of the solution to prevent sexual assaults on campus.”
Karsten agreed, and added that he is extremely pleased that they were able to put together these resources and organize the programs.
“I was very pleased with the response of the undergraduates,” Karsten said. “These are problems that everyone needs to address collectively, and we are glad to be part of what is hopefully the beginning of a solution.”
Update: A previous version of this article stated that Scott Karsten was the only alumni that reached out to different groups for assistance.