When the Columbia Journalism School published the results of its independent investigation of Rolling Stone over the weekend, it felt like the smoke was beginning to clear after an eruption that had rocked the media world. This afternoon, a powerful aftershock rolled in when Stephen Scipione, the president of the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter, said the fraternity would pursue “all available legal action" against the magazine for publishing “A Rape On Campus,” which told the now-discredited story of a gang rape perpetrated by members of that fraternity at UVA.
Scipione’s statement came hours after a press conference held at Columbia that went over the Columbia report, which Rolling Stone reprinted in full on its website and will include in an upcoming print issue of its magazine. Despite having had the story discredited, Rolling Stone representatives said nobody will be fired for the way Sabrina Rubin Erdely's story was edited or fact-checked. Earlier today, Erdely issued an apology for her reporting failures, calling the experience "brutal" and "humbling."
The fraternity has a number of options. It could sue the magazine for defaming its members, or it could sue the magazine for defaming its overall institution.