Peer party monitoring program stalls again

Coordinators are working to fix problems within the program.

by Kaitlin Walker

After almost a year of planning, Arkeo âÄî the greek party self-policing program âÄî has yet to take off.

Arkeo was set to begin last spring. But after the programâÄôs director resigned due to scheduling conflicts this semester, new leadership hasnâÄôt set a new definite start date.

Last year, the Office for Student Affairs mandated that the greek community implement the program after a series of alleged sexual assaults at fraternities. After months of planning, the Interfraternity Council voted to buy insurance to cover any potential liabilities associated with peer monitoring in April. The program operated for less than a month until the end of classes.

Since then, Martin Cech, the programâÄôs leader, resigned, and Arkeo has stalled, said Joel Livingood, president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

âÄúThe program has been in limbo,âÄù he said.

Currently, two coordinators, Kyle Wesen and Josh Heurung, are working with the IFC to get the program up and running after the change in leadership.

Wesen said a few changes are being made, but couldnâÄôt say what kind of changes or what still needs to be done to get the program in place. He said he is meeting with IFC President Joe Sandbulte and Amelious Whyte, chief of staff for the Office of Student Affairs, today to work around any remaining obstacles.

Wesen said the biggest priority is finding volunteers from within the greek community to monitor events.

If the program is set up, any fraternity wanting to host an event will have to register with the IFC. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays volunteers would work in groups of two or three and visit each registered event twice at random times throughout the night. The volunteers will use a checklist to make sure IFC bylaws are followed and will report any infractions to the IFC.

âÄúThe goal is to have a safe house âÄî not just for people to drink, but a place where people can just hang out and have a good time,âÄù Wesen said.

Like with every major change, the Arkeo program was originally met with mixed reviews.

âÄúSome houses thought it was too strict, and others thought it wasnâÄôt strict enough,âÄù Wesen said.

The Minnesota Daily previously reported sororities on campus were concerned with a lack of womenâÄôs safety provisions on the checklist.

Cech previously told the Daily that sexual assault isnâÄôt easily addressed by a checklist but would be resolved through proper education, which the group planned to provide through a partnership with the Aurora Center.

Livingood said most of the community still sees the program as beneficial, though there are still some disagreements about the structure.

âÄúEverybody thinks things should be done differently,âÄù he said. âÄúBut I think people understand the underlying goal of the program, and I think everyone can agree that it is beneficial for the greek community.âÄù

âÄúHaving a system that monitors the rules and regulations that are already in place is good for the community,âÄù Livingood said.

âÄúBut I think at the end of the day, chapters need to hold themselves accountable and that is something we take pride in doing,âÄù he said.

So far, neither Wesen nor Heurung can say when the program will begin.

âÄúWeâÄôre hoping to have something running this weekend,âÄù Wesen said. âÄúThat might just be Josh and I walking around before we have a volunteer base to draw from.âÄù