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The University of Virginia has reinstated Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity at the heart of a Rolling Stone story involving an alleged gang rape, after Charlottesville police said they did not find “any substantive basis” for the allegations.
“We welcome Phi Kappa Psi, and we look forward to working with all fraternities and sororities in enhancing and promoting a safe environment for all,” UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan said in a statement.
The Rolling Stone story detailed an account by a woman nicknamed “Jackie” of being gang raped at Phi Kappa Psi and described a culture of violence against women at the university. The story led the university to suspend all fraternities from Nov. 22 to Jan. 9 while police investigated the allegations.
Rolling Stone came under fire for the story after contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely seemed to sidestep questions about whether she had contacted Jackie’s alleged attackers. This, along with doubts over the identity of the men Jackie described and disputes about the timeline of events, led critics to doubt the veracity of the story.
Rolling Stone said they no longer stood behind the story in a Dec. 5 note to readers. Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana wrote: “In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account.”
Rolling Stone later removed the line referencing “misplaced” trust to read: “These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie.”
The university also announced new rules for fraternities last week, including one that states a sober fraternity member must monitor the stairs leading to bedrooms during parties. The new rules lack guidelines for enforcement by the university, according to ABC News.
Corinne is the Senior Multimedia Web Editor for NewsHour Weekend. She serves on the advisory board for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
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