GVSU frats take stand against recent sex assaults

Grand State University University students participating in a solidarity walk against four recent sexual assaults near campus on Friday, Nov. 4, 2016.

ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — As the investigation into four sexual assaults near Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus continues, one group is taking a stand against the violence.

The InterFraternity Council organized Friday’s solidarity walk to do more than take a stand against the four sexual assaults near campus at the beginning of this semester.

They also want to break down the stereotype that Greek life somehow feeds into sexual violence.

“It’s very important for us to have a good presence on campus when it comes to sexual assault. There’s a lot of stereotypes that frats are the ones committing sexual assaults, but at Grand Valley we think our Greek life is different,” IFC VP of Programming Zachary Totten told 24 Hour News 8.

Nearly 100 GVSU fraternity members spent their afternoon taking a stand against sexual assaults. Totten says they work to teach warning signs and prevention.

“That means bystander intervention, knowing when to step in to make that judgement if they see that happening on campus and just to make sure people feel safe when they come to our social events no matter what,” Totten said.

Creating a safe environment within Greek life is something they have worked towards for years, but it’s becoming more vital than ever before.

Four GVSU students reported being assaulted during the first month of classes near the Allendale campus. Investigators have said the crimes are similar, but have yet to say if they think the same suspect is responsible for all four.

The IFC wants the entire community to know they won’t tolerate sexual violence.

“We want to make sure everyone knows at Grand Valley that sexual assault is not OK. It’s not OK in fraternity life. It’s not OK anywhere else,” he added.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office has not made any progress on the four assaults. There have not been any additional reports since then either, as they have upped patrols in and around the area here in Allendale.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office at 616.738.4000 or Silent Observer at 877.887.4536.