As part of their ultimate Sacred Purpose, Theta Chi teamed up with the Student Government Association (SGA), Student Success and the Women’s Center to bring feminist author Kate Harding to speak to SRU about rape culture and sexual violence awareness.
Theta Chi’s Sacred Purpose, which is shared by the brotherhood of Theta Chi nationally, is an initiative started in 2013 to improve and standardize the health, safety, and overall well-being of the Theta Chi brotherhood as well as the communities and campuses surrounding them.
Junior economics and professional Spanish double major Marshall Tuten is the Vice President of Health and Safety for the Zeta Alpha colony of Theta Chi here at SRU, and he is in charge of the Health and Safety programming for the group. Tuten said one of the topics of the Sacred Purpose here at Slippery Rock is sexual assault prevention and awareness, and because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it was the perfect time to bring Harding to campus to speak.
“We booked [Harding] to come to speak to campus…to discuss more openly the issues that we face as a modern society…and how we can address the way we think and talk about those things to change the way that we act and the way that we perceive victims and perpetrators to have a more equitable view of the problem,” Tuten said.
In many cases, there is a negative stereotype surrounding Greek Life, especially concerning this topic, and Tuten said he wants to make sure, as VP of Health and Safety, the campus knows that the Greek community has the potential to make a difference.
“We have a responsibility for one another as brothers in our fraternity, and just as humans to everybody,” Tuten said. “We have a duty to care for those around us, to take responsibility for our actions and to fight the negative trends and traditions that create unsafe environments that we’ve seen in the media and that we’ve seen in general.”
Director of the Women’s Center Jodi Solito said she played a big part in helping the brothers of Theta Chi choose an ideal speaker for this event. She said Kate Harding was one of the first people to come to mind because, not only does Harding address rape culture in her book Asking For It, she also has a deeper take on how to discuss the situation.
“She’s a staunch feminist who, I think, can bring a different message than what we typically have done on campus,” Solito said of her suggestion about bringing Harding.
Solito said she was happy when Marshall and the brothers of Theta Chi approached the Women’s Center to work on this initiative because Solito has been wanting to get involved with Greek Life for some time, especially involving topics like this one.
Theta Chi is currently working toward being officially established on campus, which will be taking place in the coming weeks, and Tuten said the fraternity has plans to continue to work hard on their Sacred Purpose initiative.
“To continue doing what we’re doing, have good events and programming that engages faculty, student and other Greek life, make connections with organizations inside and outside of Greek life to kind of make the Greek organizations more a part of campus instead of this separate thing that people feel is exclusive and secret,” Tuten said of Theta Chi’s plans for the future.