UND Issues Non-Apology Over Fraternity Incident

Yesterday we got word that, despite an investigation by law enforcement professionals which completely exonerated the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity of accusations of a “hate crime” against a gay male, the University of North Dakota was going to proceed with their own investigation.

Because that’s exactly what we need, right? Students put in jeopardy of a process run by academics and politically-motivated administrators looking into serious accusations of crimes that are best left to the professionals.

Anyway, the review was quick, because today the UND administration sent out a campus email stating that they have concluded that there’s no reason to proceed with a campus tribunal.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]”In an attempt to be transparent with the campus community regarding the alleged incident of August 30, the University released a statement on September 2,” the email states (read it in full below). “This statement was interpreted by some in ways we did not intend and we regret that occurred.”[/mks_pullquote]

Oh, and by the way, they’re sorry. Not for sending out an email on September 2nd which basically treated the allegations as true as the fraternity members as guilty, but rather they’re sorry that President Robert Kelley’s words were interpreted that way.

“In an attempt to be transparent with the campus community regarding the alleged incident of August 30, the University released a statement on September 2,” the email states (read it in full below). “This statement was interpreted by some in ways we did not intend and we regret that occurred.”

To review, in the September 2 email Kelley acknowledged that the incident was under investigation but didn’t shy away from characterizing it as something motivated by the alleged victim’s sexual orientation.

“This incident is even more disconcerting given that it followed the recent Grand Forks celebration of LGBT Pride,” Kelley said in the email (full text).

How could Kelley say that the incident was “disconcerting” in the context of the LGBT pride event unless he had already concluded the incident was motivated by animus towards gays?

UND doesn’t owe an apology for those words being misinterpreted. UND owes an apology for the fact that Kelley wrote them, and then distributed them to tens of thousands of students, faculty members, alumni, and ultimately the public at large.

Earlier this week UND student and Lambda Chi president Joe Price wrote for SAB about what the fraternity brothers went through because Kelley and his administration decided to pour gas on this situation.

That’s what UND should be apologizing for. But I’m guessing they won’t, because admitting such culpability might well put the university in line for a defamation lawsuit.

 

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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