Frats are trying to make it harder for colleges to investigate rape

Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity House DSP San Diego State University CampusREUTERS/ EARNIE GRAFTONThe former home of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity at San Diego State University is shown in San Diego, California on December 17, 2014. The university banned the fraternity whose members were accused of harassing people taking part in an anti-rape march, a move that comes amid a renewed debate over the handling of sexual assaults on U.S. college campuses.

College fraternities and sororities will lobby Congress in April to make it more difficult to investigate rape allegations on college campuses, Bloomberg News’ David Glovin reports.

The Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee — known as “FratPAC” — “plans to bring scores of students to Capitol Hill on April 29 to lobby for a requirement that the criminal justice system resolve cases before universities look into them or hand down punishments,” according to Glovin.

“If people commit criminal acts, they should be prosecuted and they should go to jail,” Sigma Chi national fraternity president Michael Greenberg told Bloomberg.

But many activists believe colleges should have a role in adjudicating sexual misconduct cases.

It’s important to have both criminal investigations of alleged rapists and proceedings at schools, Wendy Murphy, a professor of sexual violence law at New England School of Law, told Business Insider earlier this year.

“The key issue is, when crime happens on campus, it is both a criminal justice problem and a civil rights problem. It’s ‘this and’ not ‘either or,'” Murphy said.

FratPAC brings students to Washington, DC every year to lobby on behalf of Greek houses, usually on matters such as tax breaks. However, the lobbying group has also fought against anti-hazing and sexual assault legislation in the past.

This year, Glovin reports, FratPAC will be joined by the North-American Interfraternity Conference — which represents 74 national fraternities — and the National Panhellenic Conference — which represents 26 sororities.

In addition to pushing for legislation on campus rape, the three groups “will ask Congress to block colleges from suspending all fraternities on a campus because of a serious incident at a single house,” according to Glovin. He also reports that the groups will lobby for “a rule against ‘any mandate’ for chapters to go co-ed.”

In the past year, for example, fraternity systems at Clemson University and West Virginia University have been suspended following student deaths. Additionally, Wesleyan University mandated that the school’s fraternities must accept and house both male and female students.

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