Vice President Damon Sims To Meet With Fraternity Presidents Sunday
Damon Sims, Penn State’s Vice President for Student Affairs, met with the media this afternoon to discuss the situation surrounding the allegations against Kappa Delta Rho. Sims detailed his plans moving forward with not only KDR, but the Greek system as a whole, following a discussion with the organizers of a protest outside of Old Main earlier in the afternoon.
Sims is in the process of organizing a meeting with fraternity chapter presidents Sunday evening to discuss the KDR situation and the possibility of a review of the Greek system, answering any questions they may have on the process. Sims has extended an invitation to the leadership of Kappa Delta Rho, but is unsure if they will attend the meeting.
“They’re invited. I don’t know if they’ll come or not, but they’ll be invited. In fact, I am likely to subsequently — I haven’t had time to do that yet — but I’m likely to ask for a meeting with the KDR chapter. So sometime next week I’d like to talk to any men there that would like to talk with me,” said Sims.
Whether the members of KDR agree to speak to Sims or face their peers remains to be seen, but Sims’ invitation to the fraternity is a step in the right direction from administration as they attempt to find answers from KDR’s members about the incident. In accordance with a letter released by President Eric Barron earlier in the week, Sims does believe it is time for the Greek system at Penn State to be reviewed in order to both look closely at the shortcomings of the system itself, as well as to prevent other future incidents from occurring.
“We need to review the system. I think it’s been a long time since the system at Penn State has been reviewed and I think there are periodic shortcomings in the system that percolate to the surface and episodes like this — not quite so dramatic as this always, but there are challenges in the system,” said Sims.
He does believe the Greek system must create change within itself, most notably reflecting upon its relationship with alcohol and its connections to sexual assault. Sims spearheaded the Sexual Assualt and Harassment Task Force. The Task Force released their findings in January, including 18 recommendations to President Barron on the university’s activities related to sexual assault and other forms of sexual or gender-based harassment. President Barron accepted all 18 recommendations.
“There is a connection certainly between alcohol and sexual assault and I would like for it to think deeply about that. I think in the end, the Greek system has to understand that if it’s going to be sustainable, it’s going to have to take responsibility for not only itself, but for others — for people who come into it through social experiences and other activities. It needs to have a cultural shift perhaps from within,” said Sims.
According to Sims, Penn State does not have a specific timeline on a disciplinary decision against the fraternity and its members, but would like to do so quickly.
“We want to be as expeditious as we can be and still be fundamentally fair.”
Photo: Steffen Blanco/Onward State