Members of sororities and fraternities could be seen wearing “these letters believe survivors” pins and apparel displaying their Greek letters on Tuesday, in solidarity with the national movement supporting survivors of sexual assault.
The idea for Greek life members to wear the pins started with Ricki Levitus ’20, vice president of programming in Delta Phi Epsilon (DPhiE), who wanted to do something to start a conversation within sororities and fraternities at Brandeis.
“This is something that is associated with [Greek life] so I thought standing by it silently isn’t okay anymore,” Levitus said. “That was really the motivating thing behind it, to have us all break the silence. This was just the first step of bringing everyone together to do this.”
Levitus brought her idea to Hannah Mui ’20, a member of DPhiE and the president of the Greek Awareness Council (GAC), an organization that acts as a bridge between Greek life and the Brandeis community. Levitus presented her idea to the 14 members of the council, which includes the presidents of the 10 Greek organizations on campus and four executive board members.
“She [Levitus] wanted to open it up to people not just in our sorority but to other Greek organizations,” Mui said. Mui emphasized that she wanted Greek organizations to address the problem of sexual violence, saying “ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away.”
The idea received broad support from GAC members, according to Mui. “Almost all the organizations were really on board and super excited about the idea,” she said. “And since it wasn’t a huge financial burden there was really nothing to lose in this.”
After getting the idea approved, Levitus designed the pins and purchased them in bulk, and then distributed them to each of the Greek organizations. Greek life members could be seen in their letters with pins on Tuesday, Oct. 30 around campus.
“I wasn’t on campus a ton, but for all the times that I was, almost every single person that I saw who I knew was in a Greek organization was wearing their letters and wearing the pins,” Mui said. “I think it sort of painted the campus full of Greek letters and those pins.”
Levitus also spoke about seeing the pins, saying “I came in [the library] to find like Greek alphabet soup and pins everywhere. It was just really cool.”
The GAC has been introducing other initiatives to make Greek life safer for students, Mui said in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Mui spoke about the Sergeant of Arms position on the GAC, which was filled for the first time this year by Samantha Jean ’19. Jean works for the Prevention and Advocacy Resource Center (PARC) and has hosted bystander trainings for all the Greek organizations and pushed for the angel shot initiative, according to Mui.
Angel shots are a way for students at a party to ask for help if they feel unsafe. If a student asks a bartender for an angel shot, this alerts the bartender that the student feels unsafe and can then assess the situation and call them an Uber or remove them from the party, said Mui.
Other Greek organizations have taken their own initiatives to support survivors of sexual assault. After Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing began a national movement to “believe survivors,” the sisters of the Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) sorority began selling shirts that said “Believe Survivors,” as a fundraiser for End Rape on Campus (EROC). EROC is an organization that works to end sexual violence on college campuses through education and policy reform, according to the organization’s website.