Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fraternities Lobby For Less Regulation for Campus Assult Trials

The Fraternity & Sorority Political Action Committee, “FratPAC,'' and other Greek Life groups are trying to persuade Congress to make colleges unable to suspend fraternities on campuses because of sexual assault incidents. They plan on bringing students to capitol hill on April 29th, in order to push their agenda, which aims at making it harder for sexual assault investigations to take place. FratPAC has also lobbied for Congress to repeal anti-hazing legislation. 

Activists claim that fraternities are negative environments that allow for assaults to be commonplace. However, not everybody feels this way. Harvard and University of Pennsylvania claim that the trials for the assault suspects are too harsh against the accused. “University disciplinary boards can take action, including suspensions or expulsions, far more quickly than courts and, unlike criminal proceedings, don't require a finding ‘beyond a reasonable doubt.’ To sanction a student, allegations must be found more likely than not to be true.”

Many are also appalled by FratPac’s agenda. They claim that if assaulters had to go through the judicial courts it would take too much time. "The criminal justice system has been a virtual failure in its ability to address sexual assault,' said Kevin Kruger, president of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, who is against the FratPac agenda. 

This brings together the growing number of fraternity assault cases that are in the news all too regularly. Do you think that Congress should pass laws for less regulation for sexual assaults? Should the sexual assault suspects be given a different form of trial? Would something like this even pass Congress?


Kelsey O'Donnell said...

Sexual assault is a huge issue at college which is horribly disheartening. More specifically, it is common at fraternity parties and commonly done by members of fraternities. So should there be less regulations? Hell no. Being "too harsh" on possible sexual assault offenders is ridiculous. Sexual assault is no small issue and should be treated severely as it is a severe trauma to the person who is sexually assaulted. I understand that courts can take too long but that doesn't mean that fraternities shouldn't be able to be sued. I also understand that one members' actions don't define an entire group but if it is multiple members and clearly not something morally that the group tries to protect against then the whole group should be held accountable. I also don't believe less regulations will pass congress because it is such a hot topic issue.

CleoWienbar7 said...

I'll answer your last question first: No, there is no way this will pass Congress. They have failed to pass a human trafficking bill, which is a much less controversial form of sexual assault legislation. Everyone wants to prevent people from being trafficked and to help people get out of prostitution. Thus, I doubt that this much more politically toxic legislation will even reach the floor, much less pass. There are so many questions surrounding victims' rights, the rights of the accused, and jurisdiction.
Personally, I feel that colleges shouldn't be arbitrating and judging any criminal cases except to impose further restrictions after something has gone through a court of law or to maintain the victims safety during the criminal proceedings. Colleges simply do not have the investigative and legal capacity to deal with criminal cases. If someone was assaulted by their coworker, he or she wouldn't expect the company to judge the validity of their claims. However, he or she would have a reasonable expectation that during criminal proceedings, he or she would not have to work with the accused. Why is it different for colleges?
There is the housing factor, but that can be solved by having both the victim and accused assailant move if they share close housing and to cooperate with the police to enforce restraining orders.
Obviously, much of this solution depends upon having a police force that is well-trained in terms of handling sexual assault cases. This would also include getting rid of the backlog of rape kits.