For months, there have been stories swirling about the Safe Campus Act, and the National Panhellenic Conference’s support of the legislation. According to the Huffington Post, the bill, which was introduced in July after lobbying from both NPC and several national fraternities “would block colleges from investigating sexual assault cases unless the alleged victim also reports to law enforcement, and in those cases, the school couldn’t fully adjudicate until a criminal investigation concludes. No other form of misconduct would face this sort of requirement.”
While some people fully support the bill, believing criminal acts should be investigated the same way, no matter where they take place. Others are equally against it. Rape victims’ advocacy groups oppose the bill, and Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), who are members of Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta respectively, have criticized NPC for backing the act, while proposing their own bill to reform the handling of sexual assault on college campuses. And now, Alpha Phi is the firm sorority to break ranks with NPC and issue a formal statement saying that they do not endorse the bill. It reads:
We are writing at the request of many of our members and chapters to clarify Alpha Phi’s position on the 2015 Safe Campus and Fair Campus Acts which have been endorsed by the National Panhellenic Conference. Alpha Phi has not endorsed this legislation and has not committed to any financial support.
We believe in our principle of Watchcare that provides for unconditional support of our sisters at all times, including those who are survivors of sexual assault. We accept any social consequences that may be implied by others as we stand beside our sisters and support them if they choose to report the crime.
We believe our sisters who are survivors should have choices in how, when and to whom they go to for support or to report the crime. They should have their own voice and the support and encouragement they need to move forward including reporting as they choose to.
We believe universities should remain accountable for the safety of their campuses, and should continue to raise the bar to ensure that they report and respond to crimes and keep students safe. Their ability to do so should not be diminished.
We believe that each of our chapters and our members should have their own voice and should work with their communities to fight sexual assault. Alpha Phi members are strong women and leaders who can and will make a difference.
We believe in our members. We believe in Alpha Phi.
The Alpha Phi International Executive Board and Executive Office Staff
Linda Kahangi, Alpha Phi’s executive director, told The Huffington Post, “Many of our members — both collegians and alumnae — had expressed concern that NPC’s endorsement of these two bills implied that Alpha Phi had endorsed them. We wanted to clarify to them that we had not.”
NPC and some fraternities have been supporting the Safe Campus Act and have spent over $200,000 lobbying for it. It’s an extremely divisive issue that your dues are going toward. So take a moment and read the bill the bill to make your own informed decision..
[via The Huffington Post]