You might think that things can't get much worse than being accused of sexual misconduct at your college or university. You'd be wrong. In these days of fierce social movements like MeToo, undergoing an investigation, enduring a hearing, even being expelled might be the least of your worries.
That's precisely what fraternities at a number of prominent schools across the country are beginning to discover.
Don't be a Victim of Mob Justice
In late September 2021, the Theta Chi house at UMass, Amherst, was besieged by angry student protesters who broke windows and flipped cars. No one in the fraternity had been found responsible for sexual misconduct. In fact, no one was even being investigated. An anonymous allegation online led to the violence. Often, it isn't about facts; it's about perceptions.
Similar protests have erupted at Boston University, Northwestern University, and the University of Nebraska, among others.
Riots and mob violence are never good solutions, but if you happen to be in a fraternity that's in the midst of a controversy, you must also consider what actions you can take to minimize the damage you face. Once frustrations reach a tipping point, perceptions and reality can sometimes blur.
- Monitor your organization's reputation: Keep an eye out for how others around campus view you and your fraternity. It doesn't matter whether you are guilty are innocent; if someone is making accusations about you, you need to know it.
- Don't respond: You aren't a seasoned public relations expert. You're 20. Hire a qualified attorney and let that attorney respond to any and all allegations on your behalf.
- Take the situation seriously: First, recognize that you are part of this organization, and you can become a target just by association. Again, it doesn't matter if the accusations are completely unfounded or if no one has actually made a formal accusation.
- Don't ignore allegations. Treat all accusations—even anonymous, unofficial accusations—with respect. Don't make flippant remarks, don't try to retaliate against accusers, and never victim shame.
It's also important to remember that these kinds of situations can get messy and complicated quickly. You may have little to nothing to do with an accusation against your fraternity, but it's easy to get swept up in an investigation. And no matter how much you may love and revere your Greek brothers, always remember that groups are notorious for turning on one another in times of crisis. Maybe you recall the French Revolution from your history courses.
If you feel as though you are being caught up in an investigation or controversy that doesn't really concern you, you need representation for yourself, and you need it now before things go any further.
Nationwide Fraternity Member Defense
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm focus on student defense day in and day out at schools nationwide. He's represented hundreds of clients across the United States from all manner of campus misconduct charges, including countless cases involving fraternity members accused of wrongdoing. He knows the law, and he knows how colleges and universities operate.
If you or your child is caught up in a campus misconduct case, don't wait. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.