An Open Letter to Campus in Response to the Phi Kappa Tau Email
October 9, 2013 § Leave a comment
Dear Georgia Tech Students, Faculty and Staff,
Earlier this week, an email written by a Georgia Tech fraternity member to his chapter was widely circulated throughout our community and picked up by various news sources. The email directly encourages the use of alcohol as a coercive tool for nonconsensual sexual activity. The email and behavior described within it is reprehensible. At Georgia Tech, we define consent as an agreement that is informed, freely and actively given, and not coerced in any way. This email attempts to advance a rape culture that normalizes and even encourages sexual violence on college campuses and in society at large.
While this email came from a member of a fraternity, the issue of sexual violence is not limited to the Greek community. We take a wider community approach that advocates everyone has a role to play in sexual violence prevention. We applaud the courage of those who came forward to the administration about this email and recognize their actions as a step in challenging this inexcusable behavior.
Georgia Tech takes this issue seriously. VOICE is Georgia Tech’s sexual violence prevention and advocacy initiative that strives to create a campus culture that encourages respect, communication, and equity. VOICE believes that everyone has the right to live and learn free of violence or the threat of violence. This initiative is led by the Women’s Resource Center and Health Promotion, and is comprised of multiple campus stakeholders.
VOICE has a number of ongoing programs and events targeted at sexual violence prevention. A few upcoming programs are:
- Safe Sister, TONIGHT, 5–9 p.m.
- Ally Training, Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m – noon
- Fraternity Men Against Violence (part of Man Up Week), Nov. 13, 5–9 p.m.
- Advocate Training, Nov. 22, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Ongoing presentations to classes or student organizations by request.
These are just a few of the ways we engage students, faculty and staff on this issue. For information and to register for these and other programs, please visit voice.gatech.edu. We recognize that this student’s email has made many in our community feel unsafe, victimized, or “triggered.” VOICE will be holding open office hours on Thursday from 2:30–5 p.m. and Friday from 1–4 p.m. in the Women’s Resource Center (Suite 131, Smithgall Student Services Building) for those in need of support or advocacy. Throughout the year, an Advocate is available in the Women’s Resource Center Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment, and for emergency after hours through the Georgia Tech Police Department.
Please join us as we work to create a campus culture that does not tolerate sexual violence.
On behalf of the VOICE Initiative:
Melanie DeMaeyer, Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center
Lee Helmken, Violence Prevention Health Educator
Vladimir Oge, Director of Health Promotion
Colleen Riggle, Assistant Dean and Director of the Women’s Resource Center