Multiple public sexual assault allegations impacted the relationship between the two organizations, according to the Panhellenic president
Apeksha Kanumilli, a fourth-year psychology major and the president of UC Davis Panhellenic, said that the decision was made partly in response to a recent public sexual assault allegation but added that the problem has been going on for years.
“It felt like we were going in circles in terms of how we were dealing with [allegations] as they came up,” Kanumilli said. “We would do this separation thing on an individual basis, and then every time it happened we would be adding another chapter, so there needed to be something done on a broader level.”
The move is intended to reorient the Panhellenic-IFC relationship away from events such as parties—although there are no social events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is kind of this expectation that our relationship is based around alcohol and alcohol-related events,” Kanumilli said. “I think we’ve gotten to the point where that feels like the only relationship that we’ve had or cultivated recently, so we wanted to start with a relationship that wasn’t based around that.”
Previously when allegations arose, the organization would create separation from individual chapters, according to Kanumilli, but she said there was a need for more sweeping action as the list of chapters affected with sexual assault allegations increased.
“It’s more than just these isolated incidents,” Kanumilli said. “It’s a culture thing, and that again stems from IFC as a whole and [it’s] what we are aiming to [fix].”
The decision includes a quarter-by-quarter review of the IFC and its relationship with Panhellenic. The steps to reintegrating IFC chapters will be tiered, starting with charity events.
“First is the philanthropy events,” Kanumilli said. “And then brotherhood/sisterhood events and things like that before we get back to what this normal relationship was in terms of other kinds of socials.”
Kanumilli said the organization is looking at ways that it can improve, and isn’t intending this to be a one-way street—she is open to listening to IFC concerns as well.
The pandemic created a unique opportunity for Panhellenic to make a move since COVID-19 regulations limited indoor gatherings on and off-campus.
“That’s why we felt this time would be perfect for this, because we’re not doing these events anyway and so it’s not a big change,” Kanumilli said.
Kanumilli said that Panhellenic would like to see IFC proactively seek out resources from the campus, like from the Center for Advocacy, Resources and Education (CARE).
“We want to see more initiative to have these conversations even when there is no specific incident,” Kanumilli said.
Panhellenic is still looking at how integration with IFC will occur but believes it will take time.
“It’s like we’re in a toxic relationship and we really just need a break to work, or we can’t be together again,” Kanumilli said.
Written by: Kathleen Quinn — firstname.lastname@example.org