I have been watching this story for the past week, uncertain about where it fit in this blog. The initial reports indicated that the events took place outside of the fraternity, and raised questions for me about whether this was fraternity-related, or individual deviant behavior. As more information has come out, it seems impossible to differentiate this from the fraternity, although it appears that the Farmhouse chapter at OSU handle this situation as well as possible.
The initial report came from the Daily O’Collegian (student newspaper), that a member of the Farmhouse fraternity was being investigated for several acts of sexual assault against other members of the chapter. It raised questions based on an anonymous e-mail received by the newspaper. The primary concern was whether an investigation was happening, and if the University had notified the local police. It appears that the police were not aware of the situation until notified by the paper.
The Huffington Post compiled a summary of reports, including comments from the chapter president stating that the student had been removed from the chapter for this behavior.
A second article from the Daily O’Collegian raised concerns that the student was still enrolled on campus, and that the University had not notified police in a timely manner. A college spokesperson claimed that information about the case was protected by FERPA, and that is why OSU did not contact local authorities. An interview with Frank LoMonte, the Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center, showed concerns about hiding behind FERPA in this case, as well as raised questions of how the failure to report this might cause problems with requirements to share crime data under the Cleary Act.
The Daily Mail (London) once again provided the best summary of all information related to this case. The student was identified as Nathan Cochran, a 22 year old Junior. He has since been suspended from OSU for three years, although he was allowed to finish out the semester.
The aftermath of this case will be worth watching. The student involved will likely face criminal charges, however, it will be more informative to watch how Oklahoma State reacts to implications that it mishandled the case as it relates to FERPA, the Cleary Act, and addressing criminal behavior on campus.