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?