National fraternity and sorority groups are walking away from their proposal to require colleges and universities to wait until after police had investigated a report of sexual assault before conducting their own investigations.
Newspapers across the country labeled the proposal and the North-American Interfraternity Conference as a "rape lobby" trying to keep sexual assaults from being investigated. That mischaracterization spread far and wide, even though the proposal was actually sensible: Let the professionals do their job, and punish based on actual evidence instead of a parallel kangaroo court system. That kangaroo system, by the way, has led to more than 100 schools being investigated for allegedly failing the accusers and more than 70 schools being sued for improperly punishing the accused.
In late March, when the Greek organizations first lobbied for their proposal, the Huffington Post's Tyler Kingkade and Alexandra Svokos described the proposal as the groups "pressing Congress to forbid colleges from punishing campus sex offenders until after a police investigation and criminal trial." By labeling the accused as sex offenders before a police investigation, the authors tell you all you need to know about how many news outlets report on campus sexual assault: Assume guilt.
Now, Kingkade, has softened the rhetoric, describing the proposal as keeping colleges "from investigating sexual assault cases under certain circumstances" and later in the article as suggesting colleges "not be able to look into or adjudicate sexual assault cases until the completion of a criminal investigation and trial."
But thanks to the initial descriptions by HuffPo and others, and the backlash it caused, the fraternity and sorority groups are backing away.
"We will not be lobbying for or against any specific congressional proposals on campus sexual assault in April," the groups told Kingkade on Monday. "However, we expect our conversations to lead us to actively endorse such proposals later in the year when Congress considers reauthorizing the Higher Education Act."