Student Life takes proactive path to keep spring activities safe

Sunrise from Spencer Butte

As warmer weather and longer days start to be the norm across the state, the Division of Student Life is working with groups across campus to be safe and use good judgment when enjoying the great outdoors.

“Obviously, we have seen issues in recent years and we want to be proactive in working with students to ensure their safety, while encouraging them to be good citizens of any community where their activities take them,” said Kris Winter, associate vice president and dean of students.

The university is working proactively with Oregon State University to communicate with fraternity and sorority leaders, students and area beach communities in an effort to promote understanding.

Fraternity and sorority chapter leaders and their national headquarters have received joint letters from Greek life leaders at the UO and OSU, while the vice presidents for student life at the two schools have sent a letter to community members at Lake Shasta. A third message, targeting students from both universities, is in the works to be sent from the presidents of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon and the Associated Students of Oregon State University.

The community letter notes that “both universities are providing education related to safety, situational awareness and responsibility, and that we have the ability to hold students accountable for certain behaviors while off campus.” It also encourages residents to contact the Office of the Dean of Students at OSU or the UO if they have concerns about events.

The letter to the Greek community reminds fraternity and sorority leadership that such events are not condoned.

“While that is their decision to make as an individual, we want to stress that their decision to attend is not condoned by their chapter, their inter/national organization, or by UO/OSU,” the letter reads.  “It’s important to be clear that this trip is not endorsed by, sponsored by or affiliated with UO or OSU nor are students attending on behalf of their chapter or on behalf of UO or OSU.”

In addition to the communications, the substance abuse prevention and student success office is holding a workshop for students who are looking for information on safe participation in social activities and warning signs of substance abuse.

“The safety and success of our students is our priority,” Winter said. “While we recognize that students will find ways to celebrate the end of the school year, we want them to do so in a way that is safe and responsible.”

By Tobin J. Klinger, University Communications