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Old 11-24-2014, 08:42 AM
KDCat KDCat is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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Originally Posted by aoiwen View Post
As a current student at UVA and a member of Greek Life, I would like to share some information with you all.

First off, all fraternal organization agreements between the university and chapters have been suspended until January 9th. Both sorority and fraternities have FOAs meaning that both were suspended at the same time via an email the president shared with students. I have a mixed opinion about this. The University was “damned if they do, damned if they didn’t.” The administration had to do something and they had to do it immediately. Do I think this was the right thing? Absolutely not. Do I have a better idea? Unfortunately not. Both fraternities and sororities function as more than just social organizations. Greek life provides comfort and a safe place for victims of sexual misconduct. For this reason, I am at least thankful that they continued to allow meetings of Greek organizations within the houses. I further do not agree with this move because they are punishing a whole group of individuals for the wrong doing of others. The events described in the RS article happened two years ago and thus there was no immediate threat that the ENTIRE Greek community imposed to anyone.

Second, this is not just a problem at UVA. To say UVA has a problem, that has become very obvious and needs immediate attention. But to say this is only a problem at UVA is very wrong and very far from the truth. This is a problem across all colleges, all genders, and both involved with Greek life and not.

Here are some points that you need to take into consideration before jumping to conclusions:
- Title IX and Due process have hindered the University (all colleges, actually) on responding to these reports of sexual misconduct
- At UVa, there are several routes that students may take in pursuing justice against their attacker: first they can go through the University and the sexual misconduct board AND/OR do so criminally through the police
- When going through the sexual misconduct board: there are HUGE problems with this that are hard to address because of Title IX and due process; basically, if the defendant is found “not guilty” through this process, he/she can then go and sue the survivor for defamation since this is not a court of law. When deciding the best route for survivors, this is tough because they could then face damages even though they are the victim. The benefits of this are that evidence need not be beyond a reasonable doubt, but that it is likely that it happened (basically there is at least a 51% chance the sexual misconduct occurred).
- Survivors can also go through a criminal process – this is often hard and takes a long time; it also requires a lot of evidence; often times survivors don’t seek immediate medical attention and evidence is lost; there need be evidence beyond a reasonable doubt for justice to be served to the defendant
- What I believe is the best route: survivors can file a civil case. Usually civil cases are settled before they ever go to court (>90%). You might think “But what is money going to solve?” In these settlements, survivors can put theoretically any clause in the agreement that he/she finds necessary and since you are settling outside of court, the defendant must agree to it, or it would proceed to court. For example, the survivor could include a clause that the defendant no longer attend said school. The defendant must attend therapy once a week. The defendant owes $X to victim. And more often than not, these civil cases have privacy clauses so you never hear about them, ever. Defendants are often way more willing to settle outside of court if they know they have done wrong because going through the court process is very, very expensive (way more than the cost of settling).
- The next topic of discussion that has been wide at UVA of late is why are students expelled for honor offenses (such as cheating) but no students have ever been expelled for sexual misconduct? In short, honor and sexual misconduct are two separate things since Honor at UVA is an entirely run student organization that punishes people on the basis of beyond a reasonable doubt and the Sexual Misconduct Board is not a student run organization that punishes that it likely happened. Last year UVA's honor system was amended and students now can admit to making an honor offense before going to trial with a 1 year suspension.

I obviously only know such much but it is crucial to see this past the University of Virginia. This is a huge problem everywhere and the changes need to take place within the laws. I’m still learning more and reading more and finding out more from my peers, but above is what I believe to be true.

Here are a few links that you may find interesting:

Interview with Dean Eramo:

Student Council website in response to the article (IMO, very well constructed):
Respectfully, your focus on the law is entirely the wrong focus. I have advised KD chapters at two schools. I attended 2 schools as an undergraduate and 3 as a graduate student. Rape is a problem in our society and it's a problem on every campus. Other campuses handle their problem, though. UVa doesn't. That allows a culture in which extremely egregious acts happen, because everyone knows that nothing will happen to the rapists.

The type of things that are going at University of Virginia where rapists are protected by the university administration is not something that happens at most schools. You have a problem with your administration that is similar to what happened at Penn State or within the Catholic Church.

Other universities don't repeatedly destroy or alter medical records to protect rapists.

Other universities don't actively discourage the filing of complaints.

Last edited by KDCat; 11-24-2014 at 08:45 AM.
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