Reports of Rape at UA Fraternity Under Investigation

Published 03/13 2014 08:24AM

Updated 03/13 2014 09:29AM

FAYETTEVILLE, AR -- Reports of rape at the University of Arkansas are being investigated and many are wondering if these cases are part of a bigger problem on campus.

"We received a report of an alleged rape Sunday morning... Sunday afternoon we began our investigation and we're continuing that investigation now."

University of Arkansas Police Captain Matt Mills said the incident reportedly happened at the Sigma Nu Fraternity house during a registered function.

"Once we get all of our interviews done and the evidence collected, we'll forward all that to the prosecutor's office."

This case is raising questions concerning how often rape is occurring on campus. According to the UAPD CLERY Report, one forcible sex offense on campus was reported in 2010, five were reported in 2011, four were reported in 2012, and Captain Mills knows other schools are seeing similar numbers.

"We've got a student population of over 25,000, it is a small city, and if you compare that to other small cities or universities of comparable size, then you're exactly right... It's not epidemic or problematic in that realm."

But rape often goes underreported.

"We're very very concerned that if we don't receive information about it, there's not a lot we can do to help so we want people, if they're concerned or have a similar situation, to contact us."

At least two alleged victims have done just that. This is the second rape report surrounding a Sigma Nu member in about the last six months. Even so, police have not labeled the fraternity or any other residence halls at the University of Arkansas as "troubled."

"I think there are incidents that are spread out throughout the campus, not only our campus but across the nation... To say that Sigma Nu or any other group has a problem or a checkered past or however you want to say it, I wouldn't say that we're there."

Scott Flanagin, the Director of Communications of Student Affairs for University Relations, said the national Sigma Nu organization has suspended all functions and events for the UA Sigma Nu chapter while police conduct the investigation.

The Executive Director of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc., Brad Beacham, said, "This is a very serious and concerning allegation that has been made against an individual student that is a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. We are working with and will continue cooperating with the University of Arkansas Police Department. We know they will complete a thorough and appropriate investigation into this matter."

For students who may be feeling uneasy after hearing about this investigation and for parents who want to better protect their kids, UAPD has a lot to offer. The Crime Prevention Office is a great resource for safety information. UAPD also offers classes of all kinds, including a rape aggression defense class for women that you can get credit for. They also do presentations at various Greek life houses around campus and are always willing to meet with groups in residence halls to talk about ways to stay safe.

(KNWA, Fayetteville)

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