The Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, or FratPAC, the political strong-arm of the nation's campus Greek society is proposing something pretty scary. Recently, the group indicated that they plan to go to Congress. Their aim? To disallow universities to investigate sexual assault allegations or assign punishments until cases are closed by the criminal justice system.
According to Bloomberg News, the group plans to bring students backing the agenda to Capitol Hill on April, 29. Here's why you need to be concerned about this lobbying that is veiling itself as a way to "provide a Safe Campus for all students."
1. It violates Title IX
According to the White House:
"If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects."
2. Criminal cases can take years
The implications of this are pretty obvious. If a case takes years to prosecute, they may not be closed until the perpetrator has graduated--meaning they could act again and the university would have their hands tied to do anything about it.
3. Victims lose the right to choose whether or not they want to face their attacker in court
Again, this violates Title IX. With this agenda, if survivors want to come forward, they must agree to a legal battle where they will be forced to see their attacker again.
4. State laws vary on their definition of sexual assault
Defining sexual assault is left up to each of the 50 states. Each state statute has different breakdowns for what physical contact draws the line, what mental state is required and what classification the crime falls under. Currently, while marital rape is illegal in every state, there are 13 states that treat marital rape cases differently than non-marital cases. In addition, some states are still only referring to sexual assault survivors in legal documents with female pronouns, leaving out half of our population from the discussion. Similarly, many don't consider acts of sexual violence between two people of the same sex to be valid at all.
While still in the early stages, the FratPAC agenda is already raising serious questions--ones that need to be addressed. One thing that is clear, however, is that making it harder for survivors of sexual assault to report doesn't sound like a step in the right direction. College students need to take charge of their own safety by letting their representatives know what they think of this prosed agenda before it hits the books.