At its Wednesday meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) Senate continued debate on a resolution that would change how Ball State handles sexual assault and hazing violations by Greek Life organizations if passed.
The "Zero-Tolerance Policy Toward Violations of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities by Greek Life Organizations" will be sent to University Senate, where faculty and students will review its policy suggestions.
Before winter break, SGA voted to pass the “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” which would punish Greek Life organizations for acts of sexual assault or hazing by its members.
From 2016-18, there were a total of 100 cases of rape and fondling reported under Ball State’s Campus Security Report. Of these cases, 19 occurred on non-campus property.
Mike Gillilan, director of Ball State’s Office of Student Conduct, said in an email all crimes reported in the non-campus column occurred at Greek houses, barring one underage drinking incident that occurred at Cooper Farm.
Senator Lauren Kamykowski, co-author of the resolution, said she and recent Ball State graduate and resolution co-author Isaac Mitchell hope if the policy is approved, it will do “justice to all individuals involved in those two very serious violations of hazing and sexual misconduct.”
“I want to implement [the resolution] exactly like we’ve written it up,” Kamykowski said. “I still talk to Isaac quite a bit about the bill because I don’t want to misrepresent in any way what we wrote together.”
SGA President Aiden Medellin and other senators said they are wary of policy implementation and how it may be enforced if passed. He delivered a response to the passing of the “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” believing it is unfair and “unconstitutional” to hold Greek Life members to a higher standard than other students.
“The Greek community does not oppose this bill because they do not care about sexual assault or hazing, but because it makes it so that only members of the Greek community are held to this higher standard,” Medellin said.
He said he resented how the resolution proposal was handled when Mitchell and Kamykowski neglected to discuss policy initiatives with Greek Life members outside of SGA.
Medellin said he did not know favorable alternatives to the “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” which is why he referred the resolution to the University Senate. He also acknowledged his own bias as a fraternity member.
“I try to be as unbiased as I can be, but I do believe the bill is unconstitutional in the way that it only has a certain percentage of the population adhere to a certain rule,” he said. “A rule needs to be across the board. Otherwise, you’re infringing on people’s rights.”
Defending the resolution, Kamykowski referenced an anti-hazing policy similar to the “Zero-Tolerance Policy” implemented in Pennsylvania in 2018 following a hazing incident at Penn State University.
This policy, like the “Zero-Tolerance Policy,” revokes university recognition when an investigation finds a Greek Life organization has participated in hazing.
Kamykowski said she and Mitchell each talked with Ball State law students before proposing the resolution to ensure the policy suggestions were legal.
“It’s a very valid concern, but the questions of the legality of the bill and the evidence people are using to call it unconstitutional address funding and free speech,” she said. “Neither of those issues refer to sexual assault or hazing.”
She said most students they spoke with didn’t believe the resolution was illegal, but some thought a more lenient policy would be more likely to pass.
“As authors, we felt the ‘Zero-Tolerance Policy’ was necessary,” Kamykowski said.