The 2013 executive board for the Interfraternity Council, elected November 2012, has focused its efforts on increasing safety on The Row this semester by collaborating with the Dept. of Public Safety and working more closely with the Los Angeles Police Department.
“One of the main responsibilities of my job, if not the top responsibility, is ensuring safety on The Row,” IFC President Ofek Lavian said. “All the other things that we do come only after safety.”
As a result of new policies this semester, the number of alcohol-related incidents has been significantly reduced. Though there were 86 recorded alcohol-related transports to the hospital last semester prior to the new policies, only 40 alcohol-related transports were reported this semester.
“This semester, the number of [ambulance] transports has been lower on The Row than off The Row for the first time in a really long time,” Lavian said.
Though the university itself is always concerned with students safety, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Denzil Suite applauded the new efforts, saying “IFC has really taken the lead on safety precautions.”
Since his election, Lavian and his executive board have instituted a number of new policies aimed at increasing security.
Houses are now encouraged to notify IFC of all social functions beforehand so that it can be prepared for any security issues that might arise.
In conjunction with these new policies, IFC board members and the presidents and risk managers of each house that plans to have events during the next week meet every Thursday with the DPS officers that will be on duty.
“We have officers that volunteer to be Greek liaisons and meet regularly with IFC to discuss safety concerns on the Row,” DPS Captain David Carlisle said.
Lavian said enhanced communication with DPS and LAPD has been essential to implementing the new policies.
“We can contact [DPS Captain Steve Alegre] whenever there’s something urgent,” Lavian said, “We also notify him whenever something is going well and discuss ways to prevent issues later on.”
Lavian and his board have also increased the expectations for chapter risk managers. This semester, risk managers in each house were required to go through training with DPS officers. In addition, an official IFC board position called the director of risk management was added to oversee safety precautions.
Lavian said all of these safety precautions have been part of IFC’s long-term goal of taking more responsibility for security on The Row.
“We want to be a self-governing unit so that we are able to be the most successful and effective Greek system we can be,” said IFC Vice President of Communications Tanner Sandoval. “We are all very capable individuals, and we should not have to put extra stress on the university.”
Lavian said he hopes to develop a program with the LAPD that would allow students to call ambulances anonymously if a safety issue arises at an event.
“As of now, if there’s an alcohol-related transport, the house [where it occurred] can get in trouble for it,” Lavian said.
According to Levian, fear of getting in trouble often prevents people from calling an ambulance in a dangerous situation.
“I think that is very immoral — and downright disgusting — because it is essentially de-incentivizing the houses to do the right thing.”
Lavian said he hopes that he can work with the university, DPS and the Los Angeles Fire Department to address this issue by the end of his presidency in December.
Looking forward, Lavian said the IFC’s executive board aims to allow houses to register events through IFC, rather than through the university.
Suite said the university is ultimately encouraging IFC to become more autonomous and responsible for safety issues on The Row.
“For any new policy we would need to see a specific proposal,” Suite said. “The goal is always to have individuals and chapters take responsibility for their own events.”