Editor's note: This article has been updated for more clarity.
A resolution was introduced to the Student Government Association (SGA) senate that calls for a change in how the university deals with violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities by Greek Life organizations.
Titled “Zero-Tolerance Policy Toward Violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities by Greek Life Organizations,” the resolution was authored by senators Isaac Mitchell and Lauren Kamykowski and introduced by SGA Vice President Cameron DeBlasio Nov. 20 at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
“All you have to do is do not haze and do not violate the sexual misconduct code, and this legislation will not change your life at all,” Mitchell said.
The resolution would penalize Greek Life organizations for violating Appendices D and K of Ball State’s Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, which deal with sexual assault, rape and hazing.
If a member of a Greek Life organization violates those appendices, the proposed change would penalize the member’s organization by suspending university recognition of the organization after the first offense and withdrawing university recognition after the second.
Mitchell and Kamykowski based their resolution on statistics that showed sexual assault was a major issue on campus. Research they cited in the resolution from the university’s Clery Reports between 2016-18 stated there were 166 cases of incidents of rape and fondling at Ball State.
However, this number is higher than the actual number of reports of rape and fondling at Ball State. From 2016-18, the Clery Act report shows 81 reports of rape and fondling on campus, 66 of which occurred in on-campus housing. It also lists another 19 cases reported on non-campus property, putting the total number of reports at 100.
While the Clery Act makes a distinction between crimes reported on campus, on-campus housing, non-campus property and public property at Ball State, it doesn't specifically mention the location of these crimes.
“After a lot of research and discussion with individuals, we decided that this legislation — a piece of legislation that would simultaneously hold Greek Life organizations accountable for actions committed and a piece of legislation that would make victims feel heard and represented — is the type of legislation that we should move forward,” Mitchell said.
More than 30 Greek Life members were in attendance to watch the senate discuss the resolution, and many opposed the bill.
Mitchell said he was optimistic the resolution would pass both the senate and the university senate, but Kamykowski said she expects some resistance from Greek Life organizations.
“I think, sadly, a lot of them are going to have a lot of anger,” she said after the meeting. “However, I think when people understand and read this legislation — understand what it actually wants to do and how it could actually potentially protect good Greek life organizations — then I think that they should be in favor of it.”
Olivia Mikkelson and Annie Ashbrook, who viewed the senate’s discussion from the gallery, are part of an immersive learning project on rape culture on college campuses. They came to the meeting to show their support for the resolution.
“I hope that [Greek Life] will come around and be supportive of it simply because it's the right thing to do, because no person deserves to be hazed or sexually assaulted, and if you are, then the person who did it to you should be punished for that,” Mikkelson said.
The new resolution, which will be voted on Dec. 4, was one of a half dozen new pieces of legislation introduced to the senate during its meeting, the highest total of legislation introduced in a single meeting this year.
The senate also voted on the resolution and amendment introduced last week concerning excused absences and the qualifications for running for President Pro Tempore of SGA, respectively.
The resolution passed, 43-0, with no abstentions, and the amendment passed, 38-1, with four abstentions.
Finally, the senate was introduced to three amendments concerning updates to the constraints of the Credentials Board Chair, the Community and Environmental Affairs Committee bylaws and bylaws of SGA “to provide clarity to on-campus and organizational representatives on how to regain their seats.”
Contact John Lynch with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @WritesLynch.