IFC, PHC to host a new event

The Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils will host a Comedy Fundraiser tonight that intends to unite Greeks and non-Greeks in raising awareness about sexual violence and assault.

The Women’s Student Assembly and The Clothesline Project will co-sponsor the event, which will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Tommy’s Place.

Though the event is free for students, there will be a $10 suggested donation  and proceeds will be given to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization.

Zack Jerome, a USC alum and creator of the Lost Angeles blog, and comedians Jonny Loquasto, Yassir Lester, Lauren Ashley Bishop and Adam Devine will be among the night’s performers.

IFC President Pat Lauer said IFC wanted to have an event that would be noticed outside of the Greek community before everyone leaves for summer. Lauer also said IFC and PHC wanted to host an event where the focus was not on alcohol, but on benefitting an important group of people.

As planning began only a week and a half ago, IFC collaborated with USC administrators to secure a venue on short notice.

“When we reached out to the Office of Student Affairs and laid out our entire plan, they were extremely supportive and were instrumental in hooking us up with the best social hub on campus,” Lauer said.

Vice President of Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson said IFC had not used their free rental for the year, so they will only have to pay for direct costs and staffing for the event, and not the rental fee for Tommy’s Place.

Jackson said he supports IFC’s effort to raise awareness and money through the comedy fundraiser.

Some students also believe the comedy fundraiser is a good way to spread information on the prevalence of sexual violence.

“Any event that invites people to sit in the same room and unite for the same cause will stimulate discussion on a topic that needs to be thought about,” said Lauren Wendlberger, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering. “Comedy won’t make the situation any less serious, but the problems we’re facing can’t be fixed overnight.”

Other students like Anisha Veer, a freshman majoring in business administration, do not plan to attend the event.

“I don’t think you can address this serious issue by a silly comedy show,” she said. “I also doubt the motives of IFC and believe that they are doing it for show to better Greeks’ tarnished reputation and because of pressure from the university.”

Despite such feelings from some of the campus community, Lauer maintains the event is not merely a defensive action to prove wrong students who label Greeks as sexist or misogynist.

Lauer believes the recent scandals in USC’s Greek community have put Greeks in the spotlight, and he thinks an event like the comedy fundraiser is necessary to show steps are being taken to move forward from these negative events.

“Due to the recent national scandals, the eyes of the school and of the nation are unfortunately on us,” Lauer said. “We had a huge Greek presence at Take Back the Night, but what we needed was to make a bigger gesture, one that would be noticed outside of the Greek community alone.”

Lauer notes, however, the fundraiser is not just a response to the recent scandals.

“These recent scandals have brought to light issues concerning gender awareness and sexual assault that have gone unnoticed for too long in our entire USC community,” he said. “It is this longstanding issue that we are responding to.

Pedro Moura, IFC vice president of public relations, said IFC and PHC hope to create a USC program or group in the near future called “Greeks Against Sexual Assault” in an effort to show that greeks do not support sexual violence. The program is currently in its early stages of development.

Donations can also be made via Greeks Against Sexual Assault Eventbrite page online.