But what about the fraternity’s well-known kitten sacrifice ritual?
Oh, Mizzou, my alma mater …
A few weeks ago, a fraternity was accused of hurling racial slurs at a group of students that were gathered on their front lawn. Although police reports stated the police in attendance heard no one from the fraternity do this, the frat was put on suspension. Guilty until proven innocent, the American way. But I have a few questions…
The incident started with a young woman who admitted to police that she DID shout a racial slur at the group. I don’t know what happened to her, but if we apply the rules evenly, and organizations are responsible for its members’ behaviors, her sorority, if she has one, should be suspended.
Also, the police report did state a policeman heard a student shout “cracker” at the frat house. Isn’t that a racial slur? If so, that student’s organization should be suspended as well. Now, the liberal in me agrees that police reports may not always be impartial and objective, so all I completely buy is the young woman who confessed to inciting the ruckus.
It’s a college, filled with kids, often away from home for the first time. Rumors swirl, accusations are made and repeated. The word on the street and the internet is that this same fraternity may have given date rape drugs to their pledges, instructing them to use for sexual conquests.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch started down the right path. They requested information regarding this incident and other disciplinary action against the frat. So far, so good. That’s called investigative journalism. Here is where things go awry …
First, the article on the Post Dispatch’s Saturday front page screams “Mizzou fraternity accused again… Allegations say frat told pledges to use rape drug on dates.” Oh wait, as you read the article, there are no real allegations, just rumors. No one has come forward to say this happened, no reported assaults or rapes, no drugs found. Read further into the story, and the Post Dispatch obtained 79 pages of documents citing numerous alcohol violations, plus a letter from a Title IX administrator where the date rape drug rumor is explained, along with two “alledgedly”s. I find it impossible to believe that if the police or Mizzou officials thought there was even a remote possibility of this, they would not investigate, obtain search warrants, question suspects and witnesses, etc. Believe me, they are all still kids, many if not most good kids. Someone would give them the goods.
On Sunday, we find a retraction of sorts, not on the front page, but the third. It seems the fraternity’s executive director states he received “verbal confirmation from the university” that the date rape drug claims were found to be unsubstantiated. Mizzou officials wouldn’t comment, so if the fraternity leader is telling the truth, Mizzou chooses to leave these fraternity students falsely accused and blowing in the breeze, scorned by students, faculty, parents and the public for something there is no speck of evidence that they did. That’s a fine example of some of our country’s founding principles, and a great teaching moment for students.
The journalist in me would have pulled reports of neighboring fraternities and a few sororities as well, for comparison. I would have questioned the Title IX official as to where she received her information, was it anonymous? Was it just one source? Was she able to talk with the accuser to gain more information? Were there witnesses? Were the pledges brought in for questioning? Did Mizzou officials investigate? Did the police?
I would also disclose that I am a mom of a former member of this fraternity, he was one of the ninety removed from the rosters a few years ago. Almost all of these were voluntary, as they were upperclassman who were unwilling to go through the new hoops and requirements the national organization was imposing to remain members.
More disclosure, who in their right mind thinks young men, eighteen or nineteen, are mature enough to live on their own in a group house with no supervision? This is one of the many reasons I think the Greek system at Mizzou should be changed or abolished. Another reason, the heart-breakingly cruel way girls are chosen during rush, with many freshman girls now starting college life thinking they are not good enough (or worse, pretty enough, like that should even be a thing!); the parade of girls down the street after rush, with boys ranking them on their looks; the derogatory, sexist nicknames for the sororities, the racial and class division it reinforces, I could go on… The problem is not one single fraternity, it is the whole system.