Natalie McKerjee

For the first year at Miami University, Sigma Phi Epsilon (Sig Ep) fraternity will offer a self-defense program as a new philanthropy aimed at helping women feel safe on campus.

The two-hour class will provide hands-on, professional training and is open to all women on campus.

Will Hoyt, philanthropy chair of Sig Ep, said he became involved with the program last summer. Hoyt attended the same Kansas high school as Ali Kemp, a former student at Kansas State University who was murdered while lifeguarding alone at a local pool and whom the foundation was created to honor. Kemp was also dating a Sig Ep at Kansas State.

Nationally, Sig Ep is connected to TAKE, an acronym for The Ali Kemp Educational Foundation, but Hoyt said he also feels a personal connection to the cause.

Jill and Bob Leiker will instruct the program, Hoyt said, traveling to Miami from Kansas City.

“Both are martial arts experts and Bob is a six-time world champion in karate,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt added that Roger Kemp, Ali’s father, will be accompanying the instructors and attending the event.

According to Hoyt, the fraternity will sponsor the travel expenses for both instructors and Roger Kemp.

Hoyt said Sig Ep has worked hard to earn money to bring the instructors and Kemp to Miami.

“We have been raising money all semester, most notably by painting the TRI (Talawanda Recreation Incorporated) baseball fence behind Kroger,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt said that because this program is sponsored by a Greek organization, there has been a lot of contact with sororities, which contributes to his expectations of a large turnout.

Gamma Phi Beta philanthropy chair Molly Sinko said she thinks the philanthropy event is a great program and encourages attendance.

“I think it is an amazing opportunity for young women to learn self-defense because Miami is such a large campus and as women we need to know how to protect ourselves,” Sinko said.

After an incident concerning a random male entering her room without notice while she was sleeping alone, Sinko said she understands the importance of such programs.

“I’m excited to take this class because I know I would have felt a lot more confident and safe had I known the skills to protect myself,” she said.

The program will be available to all women on campus.

The TAKE Self Defense program will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Multipurpose Room at the Shriver Center.