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Introducing Tufts’ Risk Management Assistance Team

This week I sat down with Rob Jacobson, Tufts senior and President of the Tufts Interfraternity Council (IFC), to talk RMATTufts’ new Risk Management Assistance Team program.

What is the RMAT program?

The program is essentially a sober monitor program for the fraternity houses when they have registered social events. Everyone has really good risk management policies already, but given the number of TEMS transports or issues going on in fraternity houses, it was my job as IFC President to try and provide the chapters with a solution to help them be even safer. I’m asking members of IFC organizations, which are the fraternities, to volunteer to be a part of a greater risk management assistance team. So it’s all volunteers. What they’re signing up to do is be an extra set of eyes and ears at the social events. If something goes wrong, the executive members of the specific fraternities will know sooner.

Why did you want to start the program?

There wasn’t really a specific event; it was more of a trend. Leaders of the fraternities were coming to me saying, “Look, we’re doing everything we can to make our social events safe.” These social events are important to the Tufts community because it serves as a social outlet on campus. All the Greek members want to be able to still have the events. So I came up with what I hope will be a solution that could help everyone be safer and smarter. Hopefully RMAT will help further change a culture away from fraternity houses where there is heavy drinking to a very responsible environment where people are taking measures to follow the rules and keep their guests safe.

What are the logistics behind RMAT?

Right now, I’m in the phase of recruiting members. I’m sure you’ve seen my PR campaign on Facebook. I’m going to each individual chapter and explaining the program and trying to get people to join. So far it’s been incredibly successful. I’ve only been to three different chapters, and I already have 40 people who want to be a part of this team. We’re hoping to get 80-100 or so members of fraternity members that want to help. Everyone is taking this safety very seriously. We’re all in this together to help each other out. So, in that way, we’re strengthening the Greek community and keeping each other accountable.

Are you considering extending the program to include sorority sisters?

I’ll give you the evolution of the program. Right now I have to make sure it works, so I have to keep it small within my council. For the rest of the semester we’re going to try it out just within the fraternities and start small. Hopefully we’ll keep refining the program, make it better and better, and by the spring, we’ll reach out to IGC (Inter-Greek Council), which includes all the Panhellenic sororities, and try and get them involved. So yes, eventually we’ll have fraternity members and sorority members wearing these green shirts and helping out.

When can we expect to see RMAT in action?

The first date that RMAT will be available to fraternities is Friday, November 13th. The way the program works, which is important, is that it is a service provided by the IFC, so the fraternities have to actually ask me for it. So let’s say they’re throwing a larger social event and they feel like it could be high risk. They’re taking all the measures they can, but they want to be sure they’re providing a safe space for everyone in the Tufts community. Then they’ll reach out to me and say, “Hey, Rob. We’re looking for a couple RMAT representatives,” and I’ll have this list of team members who have specific training, and I’ll send them for the duration of the party.

What will RMAT volunteers do?

Volunteers will go through the policies of RMAT about what they can and can’t do. The idea is that they’re not meant to intervene because that would undermine the spirit of the program. What they’re meant to be is a set of eyes and ears. So if they see something or are approached they will refer back to the president of the fraternity so the situation can be handled under the fraternity’s specific risk management policies. We need to create a sense of trust between the fraternities. We’re not sending in spies to be like, ‘Hey I see something wrong. I’m going to report it.’ That’s not the goal. The goal is to keep people safe. The best way to do that is to send in trusted assistants. So fraternities will ask for these people to be there just to help out.

If you’re looking for more information, check out the Tufts Interfraternity Council on Facebook. 

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