USC establishes group to ensure students’ safety

Content warning: This article contains references to sexual assault and violence.

USC will establish a Working Group on Interfraternity Council Culture, Prevention, and Accountability, Provost Charles Zukoski announced Thursday in a communitywide email.

According to the email, the group will have four main tasks: assess the suspension of IFC social activities and the conditions that should be met before they resume; review and possibly redesign IFC’s recognition, education and prevention strategies; re-envision the accountability process; and “tackling the broader issues of sexual assault and misconduct, excessive drinking and drugs.” 

USC suspended IFC social activities on Oct. 22 following reports of druggings and sexual assault at the Sigma Nu Fraternity house. After the initial reports, multiple additional instances of sexual assault and drugging were reported at locations on and off the Row, including at Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity and Chi Phi Eta Delta Fraternity, and other unspecified locations. Community protests led by organizations such as the Student Coalition Against Sexual Violence, which includes the Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment and USC Flow, took place across multiple days at locations including in front of Bovard Auditorium, at the Row and marches from the USC Village to the Row.

Because the recent allegations are said to have occured within fraternity houses, the group will focus primarily on IFC culture and sexual assault prevention. However, its scope will expand to the entire University to combat these issues across the USC community. 

Acting Vice President of Student Affairs Monique Allard and Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer Christopher Manning will serve as the group’s co-chairs. Other group members will include representatives from the Undergraduate Student Government, fraternities and sororities, USC’s offices of Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention and Equal Opportunity, and Title IX and other faculty. Zukoski said USC will “share the full roster of members soon.”  

Zukoski also urged other community members to share their thoughts and opinions on the subject “in the spirit of mutual respect.”

“We are seeking meaningful outcomes that will include strong preventative efforts with the goal of ending sexual violence on our campus,” Zukoski wrote.

Zukoski promised that the group will “act swiftly,” and expects to deliver their initial recommendations by Dec. 17.