The University of Virginia has reinstated the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity after a Rolling Stone magazine article on gang rape allegations was discredited. Teresa A. Sullivan, the president of the university said that “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.” The question is whether the University treated these students fairly in ordering the suspension and whether the University will take any steps with regard to the original accuser if it concludes that there was no gang rape at the fraternity as she alleged.
Friends of the student identified as “Jackie” questioned her account on the day in question and details in her story did not check out. Indeed, as discussed earlier, The Rolling Stone Magazine and it writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely (right) were widely criticized for a lack of journalistic standards in writing and editing the article.
Yet, Sullivan suspended all fraternities after demanding an investigation by the Charlottesville Police Department to request a criminal investigation. While the police said that it is still investigating the allegations, it told the University that “Phi Kappa Psi could be reinstated.”
It is not clear if the accuser would face discipline if the allegations are found to have been false. The university may be reluctant to do so in fear that it would discourage other women from coming forward. Conversely, many students were effectively punished by this suspension and two students were named as culprits. Those students could very well sue not just the victim but the school as we saw in the Duke lacrosse case.
What do you think? Should the accuser be disciplined if the allegations are found to be false?
54 thoughts on “Virginia Reinstates Fraternity After Gang Rape Allegations Are Discredited”
Well said, one of the real dangers to our constitutional democratic republic is the traditional business model for newspapers is not working. If voters are spoon-fed the information they need to self-govern and aren’t receiving the information they need to see.
Traditionally investigative journalism of any sort began at the newspaper level with a budget to fund investigative reporters. Most of the breaking news we see on the nightly news was usually uncovered by newspaper reporters first then gravitated to the nightly news.
The real concern is what happens when those newspapers no longer have the budgets to perform costly investigations. The nightly news have never matched the integrity of newspaper reporters in their press coverage since many serve shareholders more than they serve voters.
A great example is the new investigative news organization “The Intercept” http://www.theintercept.org. The nightly news programs grudgingly are forced to follow their lead on many stories.
Bailers, The incompetent and lawless AG Holder has spearheaded this usurping of the Constitution in the name of “protecting sexual assault victims.” I worked rape cases as an investigator for the prosecutors office in KC. NO ONE is more concerned about rape victims than I. When I was working rape cases over 30 years ago, the pendulum was WAY in favor of the defendant. Now, the pendulum has swung and it is too much in favor of the victim, like Jackie/Tawayna.
You’re right, but I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. OCR has been leading public universities down a path of complete and utter disregard for due process, fairness, and rights of the accused. Rape and sexual assault has to be difficult to prove. There’s too much at stake if we as a society get it wrong.
If I had my way, the OCR staff (led by a former ACLU attorney!) would all be tried on crimes against humanity.
The thing I worry about most is if something like this makes it more difficult for a true victim to get justice.
There was a time when “investigative journalist” actually meant something. Where the journalist had no agenda but the truth, and followed that wherever it lead. I know something about searching for truth, I have done it professionally for 4 decades. Sheryll Atkisson is one of the few real investigative journalists left. She was spied on by the government and has little support from fellow “investigative journalists” all sycophant supporters of this WH.
For comparison: top investigative newspapers verify facts of a witness with at least 2 or 3 sources on high profile cases that carry such high risk.
Real investigative newspapers never rely on the testimony of a single witness on risky cases like this. They also have a healthy skepticism of all witnesses including the alleged crime victim. Not confronting witnesses (where the investigator identifies themselves) also increases the risk of mistakes – even intelligence and police investigators many times make these mistakes.
This is the rule for all investigators including the university investigators.
Ross – when I was in graduate school we were advised to use RS only for the entertainment reviews. Nothing else was considered reliable.
The reporter’s agenda is so fanatical that I doubt she’ll even acknowledge anyone was hurt, except for her. Judging by her lack of public statements acknowledging the damage she’s caused, I think she probably feels pretty persecuted right now and has completely missed the point of all the public criticism.
Bailers – if I have the back story correct, RS was looking for a series on campus rapes and she said she had the perfect story. The administration has been pushing this campus rape meme heavily. They are trying to make it harder for men to defend themselves against rape charges. This article would have helped with that meme.
Think many different people made many mistakes, but one article in the Washington Post said the RS reporter’s account of what happened was contradicted by witnesses at the fraternity house. One witness claimed he never talked to the RS reporter at all. Other witnesses that knew her didn’t believe her story from the very beginning.
There are many details that aren’t clear and we don’t yet know about. My point was when statements are made under oath (under penalty of prison) – witnesses are very precise in their language and qualify facts from non-facts. The RS reporter should have flushed that out.
Ross – the RS reporter had an agenda and made sure it got published, regardless of who it hurt.
This is what happens when journalists do not exercise due diligence and succumb to the frenzy of reporting rumor over fact.
Nick: Is the name Tawayna sort of short for TyOneOn ? Or is that name the same name as some other false accuser? Brawley? That name comes to mind. Zimmerman case?
I think from this point forward “Jackie” should be called Tawayna.
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