By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
Members of the Sigma Pi fraternity and other greek chapters will be distributing fliers and information to students on the UA Mall today to spread the word about sexual assault.
As part of the Altruistic Campus Experience, a program hosted by the national Sigma Pi fraternity, the Theta Pi chapter is trying to educate students about sexual assault with information provided by the OASIS Program for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, said Casey Cutter, Sigma Pi vice president.
The ACE program is designed to give back to the fraternity's host institutions and its students, and Sigma Pi wants to give back by educating students about sexual assault, methods of prevention and what to do if it happens to you or someone you know, said fraternity President Joe DiVita.
"We want to open people's eyes about the subject," said Cutter, a pre-business sophomore. "We are going to take an aggressive approach to increase awareness and inform people about how things like sexual assault can happen."
Although there were accusations about a sexual assault incident that allegedly happened at the Sigma Pi house last month, Cutter said this philanthropy event is not in response to that specific occurrence.
"The incident that happened at our house didn't involve anyone in our chapter, but it did directly affect us," said DiVita, an electrical engineering junior. "This is not a direct response to that incident, but we want to inform students that it can happen anytime and anywhere, and we want to hopefully stop it from happening."
Cutter said they are hoping to have support from other fraternities and sororities at the event because they feel getting the entire greek community involved in awareness and education is crucial to prevention.
The materials the fraternity members are distributing today were provided by OASIS.
Tina Tarin, violence and prevention specialist for OASIS, said the sexual assault and relationship abuse center has worked directly with Sigma Pi members to involve the greek community in sexual assault awareness.
Tarin said Sigma Pi was already working with her to plan programming for sexual assault awareness before the incident allegedly happened at their house.
Together, Sigma Pi and Tarin have been developing an informational flier called "Consent," which outlines the Arizona revised statute law about sexual assault, information about the Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services and sexual harassment information provided by the Affirmative Action office, Tarin said.
Sigma Pi is distributing information provided by OASIS, but this is not considered as a form of advertisement, DiVita said, because they are simply reaching out to students and acting as a liaison to inform students of what to do and where to go if sexual assault occurs.
Tarin said OASIS also works with other greek chapters as well as the Interfraternity Council to increase awareness about sexual assault.
"We are working with IFC to create a men's health advocate program which would have two representatives from each chapter who work toward increasing awareness within the greek community," Tarin said. "This program would be just like the Women's Health Advocate program which has already been implemented with the sororities."