Temple University’s sorority chapters are taking a stand against sexual violence with educational and advocacy programs to bring together Greek life members and students.
Maura Brody, a junior middle grades education major and the heritage chair for Temple’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi, is one of several sorority members leading educational programs on consent, self-care, sexual assault prevention and healthy relationships.
One of these events is a collaboration between Alpha Epsilon Phi, It’s On Us TU, Hillel at Temple University and Temple Student Government to bring motivational speaker Scott Fried on campus later this month.
The free event, open to all students, will be held on Nov. 27 from 6-8 p.m. at The Reel in the Student Center. It is intended to educate students on sexual violence prevention, responsibility and consent.
“I’m trying to get [Greek life] members involved, because they do have a strong influence on campus, men and women, because the cause is not exclusive to one group,” Brody said. “And really, trying to create a unified, safe place for students, definitely initiating more Greek unity, more campus unity as a whole, trying to make everything positive for everyone.”
Fried is an award-winning speaker and HIV/AIDS educator. He has lectured millions of students for more than 25 years, traveling to countries like Israel, Holland and Honduras.
Kajal Patel, the president of Temple’s chapter of Delta Kappa Delta, said her chapter hosted a workshop last year about how sexual assault affects mental health and relationships.
Patel added that she has corresponded with Mat Greer, program coordinator for fraternity and sorority life about a new student group committed to preventing sexual assault, and Greer has started to recruit members for a collective committee within Temple’s Greek life chapters. Patel said the group would also be a resource for survivors of sexual assault.
Earlier this year, the Temple chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi’s former president Ari Goldstein was charged with two rounds of sexual assault-related charges. He will stand trial for the alleged incidents, with a trial for the first six charges beginning as early as 2019, his attorney Perry De Marco Sr. said. The fraternity has since been suspended from campus.
The sexual violence prevention committee, comprised of interested fraternity and sorority members, will create programs, trainings and events to help educate the Temple community and is in its initial stages, according to an email sent to Greek life members.
Additionally, the Diamond Accreditation program, which scores Greek life chapters on various categories to maintain their affiliations with the university, requires leadership to sponsor or attend sessions on topics like sexual violence and bystander intervention.
“Within that re-accreditation program, it has our students fill out different questions that help them to understand what a good and proper functioning fraternity or sorority should be accomplishing,” Greer said.
Another upcoming event to educate about sexual violence is on Saturday. The Interfraternity Council will host a 5K walk with It’s On Us TU to have conversations about sexual violence and highlight ways to become involved as an active bystander, Greer said.
Junior psychology and criminal justice major Shira Freiman, the president of It’s On Us TU, said she shares a common goal with Brody and other Greek life chapters to make Main Campus a more safe and comfortable environment for students. Freiman is partnering directly with Brody for Fried’s upcoming visit.
Freiman became a member of Temple’s chapter of Alpha Xi Delta in Fall 2018, which allows her to more easily to connect with sororities to discuss preventative sexual violence education and supporting survivors.
“I really hope that through [the Fried] event, people will be able to see you can still go through all these horrible things, but you can still be successful and you can use your story, if you so choose to, to help empower and inspire other people,” Freiman said.