How TKE Approaches Consent

Party culture in America is embedded in the college experience. While not inherently bad, party culture is often the setting and catalyst of dangerous, or even traumatic experiences. The American “frat” is often associated with wild parties and possibly the mistreatment of women.

Having friends in fraternities myself, I wanted to know how leaders in Greek life at Loyola educate their members about not only safety, but even more serious topics like sexual assault and harassment.

I spoke with Karl Lang, senior at LUC and “risk manager” for Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) about how TKE approaches consent.

“As the risk manager, it is my duty to make sure, overall, brothers’ well beings are safe and… to make sure that no brother puts Tau Kappa Epsilon at risk within the school or within our own cluster of people.”

Past risk managers have presented information on alcohol abuse and party etiquette to their new members, highlighting topics that are most relevant to Greek life. Lang decided to present upon sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“Consent, I find, is broad to be honest,” Lang said. “It’s not easy to define. So what I’ve laid out for them, I guess, is how to get consent… I think the most important way that they should get consent is to get verbal.”  

He stressed that a person drinking isn’t able to give their full consent.

“When you bring someone home intoxicated, their consent isn’t really worth what it’s worth,” Lang said. “You’re better off never doing something with someone who has had a drink.”

Lang takes pride in how well he believes TKE upholds these standards.

“One wrong move … not only ruins yourself but it ruins another person and it hurts the organization, so it’s really important that each and every one of us, especially in TKE, understand that consent is always our forefront,” Lang said.

As not only risk manager but a veteran TKE brother, Lang feels obligated to teach new members important lessons. Of course, the whole point of Greek life is to form that bond of brotherhood.

“I’ve always made sure our new members, our newest men within our fraternity, understand that it’s important to always walk a woman home, always make sure that they’re safe with people they’re possibly going home with, double check if they’ve been drinking too much, double check that they understand that if anything ever comes up that they can call your number if they need help,” Lang said.

If a TKE brother does not uphold these standards, a special sector in the fraternity deals with investigations into such situations, usually resulting in a hearing. If the brother is found guilty, he will be penalized based on the severity of their infraction.

Lang spoke on behalf of TKE and said they do not condone sexual assault and that no one would want to be a brother with someone who has committed sexual assault.

I cannot speak on behalf of all of TKE, but from my own experiences, I can say that I think these are great guys. Of course, I’ve heard the rumors, and all that I can say to defend the fraternity is that Lang is one of the good ones.

“If you feel you’ve been wronged by a TKE, there’s always members you can reach out to,” Lang said. “I’m one of them.”