Panhell will implement new policies this fall

by Sara McGahan | 8/20/15 5:32pm

At its termly policy presentation this past Saturday, the Panhellenic Council presented their sexual assault response and prevention as well as scholarship application recommendations, which the council has been working on all summer.

Panhell’s four policy recommendations — a budget amendment, freshman outreach, risk manager responder training and rush presentation materials suggestions — have already been voted on by the year-long sorority presidents and will be implemented in the fall, Panhell summer vice president of research and policy Mercedes de Guardiola ’17 said.

Two amendments — the budget amendment and freshman outreach amendment — increase Panhell’s ability to financially sponsor sororities.

The budget amendment will allow Panhell to allocate funds to sororities that need financial support for programming, philanthropy, sisterhood and house management, according to the policy handout. Previous Panhell policy only allowed the council to distribute funds for scholarship purposes or if members from two or more sororities co-sponsored an event. In addition, the freshman outreach amendment will allow Panhell to sponsor the hosting of at least one event geared toward freshman women during each of the fall, winter and spring terms.

One of the Panhell’s goals stated at the beginning of their presentation is to help facilitate the localization of sororities. This budget amendment also allows Panhell to financially support that process.

The other two policy recommendations that will be implemented this fall are linked to sexual assault information distribution and response training.

The risk manager response training amendment will enact a mandatory, specialized six-hour sexual assault responder-training program that each sorority’s risk manager will be required to undergo. The rush presentation materials recommendation will require Panhell’s rush presentations to include information about sexual assault prevention and what type of support is available for members of Greek houses.

While the College has supported Panhell’s sexual assault policy recommendations, enacting and facilitating the implantation of these recommendations is council’s responsibility, Panhell summer president Kalie Marsicano ’17 said.

“It’s not just going to magically happen now that it’s passed,” Marsicano said. “We are doing as much as we can in this final week-long stretch to set up, so that it’s really easy for the ’16s to just take over and finish off the job.”

Panhell’s sexual assault prevention and response suggestions — which include the posting of a safety sheet and peer advisory sheet in public locations at each sorority, distributing a sexual misconduct resource and information sheet to each house member at the beginning of each term and implementing a sober monitor policy during parties — are more of standardization recommendations and will not be voted on, Marsicano said.

“Those recommendations are more like guidelines if you’re looking to make your house safer,” Marsicano said. “They’re not necessarily things that we saw as needing to be put into our bylaws, not because we don’t think they’re incredibly important, but because we think a lot of houses already have some iteration of what we’re talking about.”

Alpha Xi Delta summer social chair Maclean Calihan ’17, who attended the policy presentation, echoed Marsicano, saying that some of these recommendations — such as designating a sober monitor as well as posting safety sheets — are ones many sororities already do.

De Guardiola added that although the decision to implement these policies is left up to the year-long sorority presidents themselves, the council has received very positive feedback and expects that most houses will probably implement them.

Panhell also included scholarship application guidelines in an attempt to streamline the financial aid scholarship process across all sororities. According to their policy handout, the summer treasurer of each sorority was interviewed, and Panhell discovered many differences in the way sororities handled financial aid. The council recommended policies that aim to keep applications almost blind, include the option of making termly updates to members’ scholarships if necessary and standardize the scholarship application questions asked to members.

“I think as a board, we’re pretty proud of what we’ve done over the summer,” Marsicano said, “but I think we recognize that this is just a start, and there are other things on the backburner that we’re looking forward to working on.”

Marsciano is a member of The Dartmouth staff.

Michael Qian contributed reporting.

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