All fraternity activities at the University of Virginia have been suspended after allegations of rape at a college fraternity house were published by Rolling Stone. University President Teresa A. Sullivan released a letter Saturday announcing the suspension of all “fraternal organizations and associated social activities” until Jan. 9, which marks the beginning of the school’s spring semester.
“The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community,” Sullivan wrote in the letter posted on the university’s website. “Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation’s colleges and universities.”
The alleged rape happened in 2012. Rolling Stone described its victim, given the pseudonym Jackie, as attending a party at the Phi Kappa Psi frat house where she was brutally gang-raped. After the publication of the article, students wrote to the magazine and recounted numerous other instances of rape on campus, blaming a “culture of sexual assault,” as one commenter put it.
Phi Kappa Psi announced it was suspending all chapter activities Thursday, and it surrendered its Fraternal Organization Agreement.
Hundreds of people took part in what organizers termed a “Slut Walk” on campus Friday to voice their dissatisfaction with the behaviors described in the article and demand change at the university, Time reported. “I think we’ve reached the point where people are ready to take steps,” march organizer Defne Celikoyar told Time. “People are coming together to act up against it. We want to change it. We do not want to live like this anymore.”
Sullivan had previously announced she would ask the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the assault and asked other students to come forward with evidence about the alleged incident in her letter.
“There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts,” Sullivan wrote. “Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so. Alongside this investigation, we as a community must also do a systematic evaluation of our culture to ensure that one of our founding principles -- the pursuit of truth -- remains a pillar on which we can stand. There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference.”
Virigina Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for a review of the school's policies earlier this week. McAuliffe said in a statement released Thursday that he had spoken with university officials and they had agreed to a full investigation. "I have asked university officials to conduct a full review of all of their policies and procedures and if decided, to bring in outside experts to assist in this effort," he said in the statement.