Two Democratic senators are pressuring Greek organizations over a bill that could determine who investigates sexual assault allegations.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) held a conference call with reporters on Thursday over the Safe Campus Act, a bill regarding who can do what when sexual assault allegations arise. This is the same bill former Senate Majority Leader/Mississippi Republican Trent Lott is lobbying for.
The so-called Safe Campus Act would prevent colleges and universities from taking action to make their campuses safer under Title IX after a sexual assault unless the victim made an official report to law enforcement. Even then, the university would not be able to enact final disciplinary measures against the perpetrator until the police finished their investigation—a process that could take months or years, during which the perpetrator could remain on campus.
So, essentially, due process for the accused student or students. Insane, right?
McCaskill, a former Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Missouri, sent three Mizzou fraternities letters recently asking why their nationals supported this bill.
Not surprisingly, McCaskill and Gillibrand are co-sponsoring a competing bill, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, or CASA. That bill says, in short, that universities can investigate and take disciplinary actions against students accused of sexual assault even when the law enforcement investigation isn’t complete or even when police aren’t involved.
That is a scary notion.
Sexual assault allegations are messy no matter how you look at them. I have personally seen it time and time again: students lives absolutely ruined due to one false sexual allegation claim. The accusation comes up, the university catches wind of it, the fraternity is forced to kick the student out, the university “investigates” and expels the student, only for the accuser to admit in court that they weren’t raped and only made it up so they didn’t have to come clean about cheating on their boyfriend.
The evidence for the accusations doesn’t even need to be that strong for universities to suspend students or fraternities first and then, maybe, ask questions later. Universities’ reputations are at stake when any rape allegations arise, and it’s in their best interest to distance themselves ASAP.
Let’s leave the investigations up to the police. They’re good at more than just handing out MIPs..
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