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Fraternities and Greek Social Organizations Block Rape Investigations? Yep, Headed to Washington. Only The Guilty Hide Investigations…Fraternity Members 3Times More Likely to Commit Sexual Violence

March 25, 2015

It’s not surprising, really, but it I am saddened that it has come to this. HuffPost reports that fraternities and Greek social organizations are planning to travel to Washington to try to lobby to block laws that would push for investigations of reported rapes. Greek organizations blocking rape investigations? Surprising? Fraternities want to go back to “status quo,” which resulted, ultimately, in schools failing to investigate rapes entirely. So fraternities want to block rape investigations? That’s sure how it sounds.

Fraternal Government Relations Coalition members planned to send more than 100 undergraduate fraternity and sorority members to Capitol Hill in late April to lobby on sexual assault and other issues. The national organizations have instructed the students involved not to speak with media.

O’Neill said on the Feb. 2 call that national leaders spoke with individual Greek organizations and concluded “the best position for the coalition to be in is to say that we should go back to the status quo” and allow colleges to pick the standard of proof they use in campus rape cases. The Education Department recommends schools use a standard called “preponderance of the evidence,” which means more likely than not. The fraternity representatives suggested colleges be allowed to adopt a stricter standard, such as criminal courts’ “beyond a reasonable doubt,” that would require more evidence to determine that a student committed sexual assault.

The fraternity lobbyists said they planned to utilize an index of lawmakers who have relationships with Greek life organizations and members.

The lobbying effort was slammed by anti-assault advocates.

“This proposal is completely backwards,” Gillibrand told The Huffington Post. “We should be making universities more accountable for providing a safe campus, not less. Waiting for long legal process to play itself out for those victims who pursue criminal charges while leaving potential serial rapists on campus in the interim would put public safety at risk.”

McCaskill suggested fraternities’ national leadership is out of step with undergraduate members. She told HuffPost that when she visited Missouri campuses last year to build support for her campus sexual assault bill, “I met with students involved in Greek life who were committed to ensuring that sexual assault had no place on their campuses, and that when these crimes did occur, their university had an important role to play in helping survivors seek justice.”

Lisa Maatz, top lobbyist for the American Association of University Women, said the fraternity effort confuses campus civil rights proceedings with criminal investigations. “The campus proceedings are supposed to identify whether a student has violated the school’s policies, not the law,” she said.

The problem with the idea of returning to the “status quo” is that fraternities are pushing to ultimately change the law in their favor, to obstruct rape charges and investigations in an effort to “protect” fraternities. Hear, hear for the NFL!  Oh, wait, the NFL has had to change its policies, too. No national organization should seek to protect criminals or criminal behavior. Misguided or no, the fraternity lobbying group sounds surprisingly like the NFL, wanting to cover up abuse against women to “protect” its organization, get specialized lenient policies to ignore criminal behavior. I resoundingly pose the questions: Why? How does it help an organization to stonewall rape investigations?

Seriously, why block a rape investigation unless there is a fear that lots of rapes and criminal activities are occurring? If the fraternities are as lily white as they are purported to be, what would be the harm in allowing investigations into alleged rapes? If the organization and its members are innocent, no harm could come to them. So, tell me again how it helps legitimize an organization to act like its dodging investigations of abuse and rape? Just sounds like the mob, not a student organization. Or, maybe Greek organizations would like to lose legitimacy like the NFL did. I can’t tell, because if the accused students were innocent, why do they need a national organization to say that they don’t want an investigation of said supposedly innocent students? Methinks the Greeks doth protest too much…

In the past month, police revealed Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho chapter was being investigated for circulating nude photos of unconscious women on a private Facebook page. North Carolina State University discovered the alleged pledge book for Pi Kappa Phi joked about rape and necrophilia. Sigma Alpha Epsilon, which had been trying to eliminate hazing to improve its image as the “deadliest frat,” has launched a national review of racial intolerance after the University of Oklahoma chapter was caught joking about lynching black men.

Pete Smithhisler, North-American Interfraternity Conference president, noted that issues of hazing, racism, sexual assault and binge drinking are not exclusive to fraternities. “The vast majority of [fraternity members] are having those very positive fraternal experiences,” he said.

Greek organizations have promised to improve members’ behavior, launching task forces and commissions to make specific recommendations. Fraternities at Brown University and Dartmouth College have pledged to kick out any member found to have sexually assaulted someone.

The tally of more than 100 fraternity-related incidents of alleged hazing, sexual assault and date-rape drugging this academic year is likely understated, according to researcher John Foubert, president of the anti-rape advocacy group One In Four USA. Sexual violence in general is dramatically underreported, and Foubert’s research has found fraternity members three times more likely than non-Greek students to commit sexual violence.

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