Southeast Missouri State University student publication

The Umbrella Organization: Southeast’s effort to decrease sexual assault

Monday, February 18, 2019
Iota Chi Badge
Submitted by Trae Mitten

In an effort to lower dating violence and sexual assault on campus, Southeast is in the process of creating Iota Chi, a new organization for Greek students.

Iota Chi will consist of representatives from the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and Interfraternity Council (IFC). The goal for this organization is to explore and educate the community on the issues of sexual assault and dating violence.

Title IX / Civil Rights Investigator Trae Mitten said the organization will be ground-breaking for Southeast.

“This is brand new, literally ground-up,” he said. “This has not been done anywhere else, so this is kind of our baby.”

He gave no specific reason as to why this organization is being put into place now. Iota Chi is an example of education Southeast gives to students outside of the classrooms, Mitten said.

“We are always looking for ways to educate the student body on reducing risky behavior,” Mitten said.

He said behavior can fall under the category of many things.

“Whether that’s alcohol, drugs, sexual violence, things like that, we’re always trying to look at new ways to communicate.”

He said the goal is to take on sexual assault through proactive empowerment, rather than pointing fingers belatedly.

“When all you have is problems and victims there is not a lot of positive that can come from that,” Mitten said.

Associate vice president for Student Life, Bruce Skinner said he believes it would be more effective to have students educate their peers.

“It’s not the dean of students saying, ‘Sit down, let me tell you,’ which only goes so far,” Skinner said.”It is peers holding peers accountable, which is so much more effective than bringing another speaker to campus.”

The Greek life at Southeast is getting an opportunity to step into a new role.

“It’s women and men that are Greek saying, ‘This is our expectations of each other,” Skinner said. “And that is such a critical thing to have because then you have a common baseline of what is acceptable or unacceptable.”

Focusing on one major issue with peer-on-peer education is the goal.

“Some organizations focus around the issue of sexual assault and dating violence, but no organizations actually drill on the issue,” Mitten said.

“Everybody across the board agrees that this is a problem, that we need to prevent it,” Mitten said. “Our goal is for us to take that next step and really take some concrete steps.”

Mitten said the goal for Iota Chi is to take steps to get the organization functioning by the end of spring semester so they are ready for full operation in the fall.