Women's center co-director speaks out

Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter by Kurt Cooper ("Anti-Delta Chi posters only increase divisiveness") regarding the posters advertising the meeting about the return of Delta Chi. Before I address the individual points of Cooper's letter, I must clarify that this meeting is not being sponsored by nor held in the Women's Resource Center. I realize that this contradicts the poster. However, the poster was designed and put up in the community by a volunteer without the knowledge or approval of the Women's Resource Center directors or other volunteers. We have done our best to let people know that we are not sponsoring nor hosting this meeting. While some of our volunteers may be participating, they are acting as individuals independent of the Women's Resource Center.

That being said, I find Cooper's letter both ignorant and offensive. To compare the criticism of a system that has a history of rape and sexual assault to racism not only grossly minimizes the reality of racism in this country, but it ignores the facts about rape of university campuses. In 1990, a study was conducted at the University of Illinois, an institution similar in size and demographics to the UA. At the UI, 25 percent of all students belonged to fraternities and sororities. Of all sexual assaults and rapes on campus, 70 percent were committed in a fraternity house or by fraternity members. At the UA last semester, more than five sexual assaults and rapes were reported. Given that it is estimated that as little as 10 percent of rapes are reported, it is evident that rape affects the UA as it does other institutions.

I do not advance for the elimination of the Greek system. Nor do I believe all fraternity members to be rapists. However, the prevalence of rape on campus and by members of the Greek system must be examined and addressed. Handling things "quietly" and without "undue publicity" is absolutely the wrong approach. In a rape case, the only thing that should not receive publicity is the victim's identity. This country has been handling issues of rape, incest and domestic violence quietly and without publicity for decades. These issues must be confronted and dealt with honestly by the community. Rape threatens the safety of more than half this population, men and women. Silence keeps no one safe.

If members of Delta Chi would like to enter into a dialogue about how to deal with rape effectively, I would be happy to do so. I have no objection to working with people who find women's safety and dignity more worth protection than men's social organizations. However, for those who would ask that I keep quiet so as not to offend any one, or in the name of promoting unity I am not interested in uniting with those who view my dignity as a disposable commodity.

Alexa Stannard

Co-Director Women's Resource Center

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