Fraternities lobby congress to slow down rape investigations
Three lobbying groups, including the Fraternal Government Relations Coalition and the Fraternity & Sorority Political Action Committee, or (ugh) “FratPAC,” will push Capital Hill on April 29 to require that the criminal justice system resolve cases of campus sexual assault, rape, and other criminal acts before universities can investigate and hand down punishments.
Yeah, because the criminal justice system has such a stellar track record of convicting rapists, a point echoed by victim advocates who added that criminal investigations and trials can potentially last years, long after a victim and offender graduate.
But critics say recent nationwide efforts by universities to finally address the epidemic of campus sexual assault and start protecting their students are “unfairly stacked against the accused.” FRATPac’s Executive Director Kevin O’Neill says group is concerned about “the rights of students facing a disciplinary process that is not fair and transparent.”
O’Neill, however, is confusing one’s right to a fair trial in court with one’s rights as a student expected to adhere to university codes of conduct, a point made by Lisa Maatz of the American Association of University Women, who stated “Campus proceedings are supposed to identify whether a student has violated the school’s policies, not the law.”
The lobbying groups insist that they are concerned about “assailants going unpunished and victims lacking support services,” and want to be “leaders” in finding ways to promote safety for all on campuses.
A former member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, John Foubert, suggests that’s simply not possible.
“Part of the problem is simply the structure of the fraternities themselves,” said Foubert, president of the anti-rape advocacy group One In Four USA. “You house 50 guys together without a real administrative presence, you’re going to get to the lowest common denominator. Unless punishment is certain and severe, guys are going to do the things that they have in mind as what you can get away with in college.”
The “lowest common denominator.” Would that be like, Lambda Chi Delta? I don’t know anything about Greek life.