How WU fraternities and sororities are supporting rape culture
Last June, Republican representatives Matt Salmon of Arizona and Pete Sessions and Kay Granger of Texas submitted a bill into the United States House of Representatives that has been deemed the Safe Campus Act. This bill, if passed, would prevent college campuses nationwide from investigating sexual assault cases unless the police are also involved in the investigation. In doing so, it would “allow schools to use higher standards of proof in determining guilt, making it more difficult to remove a student accused of sexual violence on campus.”
Logically, this bill has been deemed as destructive and dangerous by various colleges and universities as well as advocacy organizations. By involving the police into every sexual assault case that is brought to the attention of a university, students are less likely to report their assault and seek necessary and vital resources that places like Wash. U. has, because they are forced to choose between two options: involve the police or have no investigation at all. No other crime will be held to this standard; students victims of robberies or other crimes on campus can request investigations by the University that do not involve police.
It is also important to note that certain identities have a history of fraught relationships with law enforcement, primarily communities of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. This is important, since the recent AAU Campus Climate Survey noted that transgender, genderqueer and gender nonconforming (TGQN) students are more likely to experience sexual assault while in college and also less likely to report compared to cisgender peers.
On Oct. 29, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill wrote letters to three fraternity presidents at the University of Missouri calling attention to the National Panhellenic Conference, North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), Kappa Alpha Order, the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and the Sigma Nu fraternity’s decision to lobby to pass this harmful piece of legislation. I find it deplorable that Greek organizations, sites that are breeding grounds for sexual assault, are using their energy and resources to actively promote a piece of legislation that silences victims and survivors of rape and sexual assault. Importantly, Sigma Nu has an active chapter on our own campus yet has done nothing publicly to raise alarm over their national headquarters’ actions.
I would be remiss to call out Sigma Nu exclusively for their national organization’s actions since all fraternities and sororities that are members of the NIC and National Panhellenic Council (almost every chapter on our campus) are implicit in supporting this bill. As a survivor of assault myself and a former member of Sigma Nu, I have seen firsthand the misogyny and rape culture that is bred within the Greek community on our campus and implore all fraternities and sororities to take action in ensuring that their national headquarters’ and affiliates prevent this harmful piece of legislation from passing. I also know, from my time in Greek life, that there are people who care deeply about social justice and the issue of sexual assault who are also members of Greek Life. I hope that they are not the only people who raise alarm about this disturbing lobbying effort. I implore all fraternities and sororities at Wash. U. to take an active stance in protesting the Safe Campus Act and demand that their national organizations stop funding this campaign to silence victims of sexual assault.