UC Berkeley
Sather Tower rises above the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, California (file photo) REUTERS/Noah Berger

Parties have been temporarily banned by fraternities and sororities at the University of California, Berkeley following two alleged sexual assaults at fraternity gatherings in the past week.

The groups in the Greek system have taken the unusual step of proposing the suspension of their own parties, with fraternities and sororities agreeing they would not hold parties until they could guarantee they were safe.

"We needed to take some time off and really assess our situation," Berkeley Interfraternity Council president Daniel Saedi, 21, told the Associated Press.

"These are grave acts of violence that are occurring. They have no place anywhere in this country let alone on college campuses."

Both allegations of sexual assault were made following several parties held over the weekend of 15/16 October at off-campus parties.

There were 22 rapes reported at Berkeley campus accommodation in 2015, and four off-campus, according to the university's statistics.

On its Facebook page, UC Berkeley Interfraternity Council wrote: "The members of the executive board of the Interfraternity Council at the University of California, Berkeley, on behalf of our 1,500 constituents, wish to express our condemnation of the vile and unjust incidents that have recently occurred in our community.

"While we have no reason to believe that these were committed by fraternity men on this campus, it is still disheartening and alarming that they have occurred on fraternity property.

"We wish to reiterate our pledge to eliminate sexual violence from our community and reaffirm our commitment to our members and students of Berkeley to provide a safe environment for all."

Members of groups in the Greek system are set to meet over the weekend to discuss the suspension of social events and how the fraternities and sororities can move forward in the creating of a safe atmosphere for students.

"Hopefully, over the weekend we will craft a new set of operating standards that all fraternities and sororities will agree on," Saedi added.

The subject of sexual assault at parties held by groups in the Greek system, both off and on campus, has hit the headlines over the past year, with cases like that of Stanford rapist Brock Turner drawing attention to student safety and campus rape culture.