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SDSU Greeks Suspend Social Events Following Sexual Assault Concerns

The SDSU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a house in the center of "fraternity circle." They are known for throwing elaborate parties.
Katie Schoolov
The SDSU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has a house in the center of "fraternity circle." They are known for throwing elaborate parties.

Fraternities at San Diego State University are suspending social activities and requiring all members to undergo sexual violence training, following a weekend that highlighted concerns about the Greek system's role in sexual assault on campus.

On Friday evening, activists claim men at the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi houses taunted and intimidated them while they were marching to raise awareness about rape. The organizers called for the university to suspend all fraternities.

The following night, police responded to a sexual assault on the same block where participants had marched.

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On Tuesday afternoon, SDSU student president Jonathan Cole — a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon — made an announcement in a campus-wide email:

Greek student leaders, with support from President Elliot Hirshman, Vice President of Student Affairs Eric Rivera, SDSU’s Sexual Violence Task Force and other members of the university administration, will immediately take proactive steps toward addressing this extremely serious issue and the Greek community’s role in it.

Cole said the InterFraternity Council, with the agreement of administrators, decided to "voluntarily suspend all social activities in order to focus on educating its members about sexual assault prevention."

Members will also "meet regularly with each other and administrative leaders to determine better ways to regulate ourselves and our members," according to the email.

Asked how long the suspension will last, university spokesperson Greg Block said, "It's indefinite for now." He added that the decision to resume social activities is up to the Greek system, saying, "This was the students doing this themselves, not a university mandate."

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"All the chapter presidents are going home for Thanksgiving," said Cole. "When we get back, that's one of the discussions we'll have."

Cole says Greek leaders will also discuss possible timelines for requiring members to go through FratMANers, a class where fraternity brothers currently volunteer to learn about sexual assault prevention for school credit.

Cole said sorority members should also enroll in such courses. "Ideally we want everyone to go through the training," he said.