Campus / Greek Life / News / April 3, 2008

Risk management forum focuses on community responsibility

On Monday the members of Tao Kappa Epsilon (TKE) and Dean Xavier Romano hosted a forum to discuss the risk management policies of the institution in general, and those of Greek organizations specifically.

Romano said he feels it is important to have this type of discussion at least twice each academic year. With the transition of officers and an increase in activities due to the warm weather, Romano wants to remind everyone of the proper procedures for handing potentially dangerous situations. While it is particularly important for officers to be familiar with the risk management policies of their particular organization, Romano stressed that safety is the responsibility of all members.

One of the safety concerns attendees felt most important to discuss was what to do when students arrive intoxicated to a party or other function hosted by a Greek organization.

“If you see someone intoxicated, don’t let them in. No debate at the front door. If they give you trouble contact Campus Security,” Romano said.

“It is the responsibility of the organization hosting the function to ensure that participants leave healthy,” Romano said.

“When we don’t take on that responsibility, we’re letting the community down, and folk’s that’s a problem, because then we have the question, ‘What kind of community are we?’” said Romano, who added that relative to other colleges, he believes Knox’s community “allows us to be closer and better informed.”

Since Knox is a small school, Associate Dean of Students Debbie Southern said, “somebody usually knows somebody,” and a technique for dealing with uncooperative, intoxicated individuals is to ask one of their friends to help calm them down. This is a tactic she often employs on Flunk Day, Southern explained.

Ensuring safety on Flunk Day for members of sororities and fraternities will mean looking out for friends outside their organizations as well as those within.

“Flunk Day is a blessing and a curse,” said Romano. “I’m the only vice-president remotely in favor of it. As you know, it exists on a year-to-year basis. We know students are willing to meet us more than half way, and they do; every year they get little bit better. Keeping doing what you’re doing helps us advocate for you, but there’s no room for mistakes.”

While fraternities frequently host functions at their chapter houses, and colonies and sororities host events less often and at locations not affiliated with their chapter, Romano said many of the same rules apply.

There is an informal agreement that colonies will abide by the policies of the Panhellenic Council and Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) as invitees.

And while college policies take precedence over nationals for sororities, Romano urged sororities to be careful when hosting functions – be consistent with the regulations of the Panhellenic Council, but do what works for them.

While the information given to Greek organization by their national risk managers can be complicated and full of jargon, Romano believes discussions like the one on Monday help “demystify” the issue and place it in a community context.

“That’s the part that, over time, people will remember,” Romano said.

Erin Coleman

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