TO THE EDITOR:
Dave Wessel’s faith in the intentions behind the Greek-supported “Safe Campus Act” is, I believe, misplaced.
For the last century, colleges have been expelling students for misconduct, including everything from cheating and plagiarism to destruction of property to physical assaults to racism. In all those years, there was no public outcry about “due process” or the “burden of proof” or the need to let the criminal justice system make these decisions rather than the colleges themselves.
Somehow, all of this only became a priority when female and male rape victims started asking their schools to do more to protect their educations.
College adjudications involve PROPERTY RIGHTS. They are not criminal adjudications. Property rights issues are the subject of civil law and have always, always been subjected to the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Title IX guarantees both the sexual assault accuser and accused the SAME due process rights — it requires that both students be treated EQUALLY.
To pretend the Greek-supported legislation is intended to promote fairness is disingenuous in the extreme. Rather, the Act is intended to strip colleges of the authority and ability to protect their students unless those students are willing to run the gauntlet of the “second rape” of the criminal justice system. The Act is intended to continue to protect rapists, who are found disproportionately in larger numbers inside fraternities — studies show that fraternity men are three times more likely to commit sexual assault than non-fraternity men.
Ironically, however, the Act would also adversely impact Greeks more than any other portion of the student population, since Greeks (both female and male) are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the average college student.
Because of the sacrifices of hundreds of students who have “gone public” with their personal tragedies, legislators and society generally are finally beginning to consider actual solutions to the problem of rape. This effort by the Greek leadership to subvert that forward momentum isn’t just dishonest and creepy and unethical — it is a sin.