The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Pledges' Attitude Toward Rape Crisis Center Volunteer Disappointing

TO THE EDITOR:

As an Orange County Rape Crisis Center volunteer since 1997, I am asked each fall and spring to talk to fraternity and sorority pledges about date rape, sexual harassment and other related issues. These discussions help inform the prospective brothers and sisters about safety, prevention and community resources.

I have found these sessions to be productive and, at the very least, well-received. However, the Wednesday before last, I was appalled by the comments directed at my co-presenter and me.

The heckling was not restricted to one gender, for I was shocked to find the women in the group either indifferent or supportive of the sophomoric remarks and outbursts during the presentation. The environment the pledges created totally undermined the purpose of this session and moreover, it ironically provided an occasion for precisely the kind of sexual misconduct that we were there to prevent. Although the pledges' comments might seem like harmless humor, it is exactly this kind of attitude that leads to stronger sexual harassment. Once these pledges are inducted into the fraternities and sororities, it is common that groups breed violence.

These groups of students were tired and restless during the session, but by no means drunk. I am concerned that if these pledges' respect for others is so diminished by just being in a large group, the added effects of alcohol common in the Greek environment will compromise their already marred decision-making ability.

The Greek community must take action to ensure these volunteers are treated with respect and civility, but most of all, ensure the safety of the people who will come in contact with these future brothers and sisters. These pledges need to take responsibility for their actions, and if not, they should not have the "honor" of joining the group they so desire.

In the end, I am sorely disappointed at them for letting something like this happen. It is insulting, and I left that night feeling angry, but mostly violated, by these pledges. We must remember that soon these will be the older brothers and sisters of future generations of pledges. The fraternities and sororities must realize that if they allow this type of lurid behavior to come into their communities, they are only giving more fuel to their already tainted reputation.

Natalie Cheung

Class of 1999

The length rule was waived.


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