Virginia Reinstates Fraternity After Gang Rape Allegations Are Discredited

tsullivan3220px-UVA_Rotunda_Logo.svgThe 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, 220px-Rolling_Stone_February_1_2012_coverScreen Shot 2014-12-11 at 7.52.39 AMThe 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”

  1. Michael H – I noticed their absence, too. I recall trying to explain that it is possible for women to lie, and we needed an investigation before castigating all fraternities.

  2. Ross:

    Here’s my question. If she consented at first to the interview, then had second thoughts and rescinded her permission, but the article went to print anyway, is she still on the hook? After all, she did make those comments . . .

    I did here she had second thoughts about the article, but nowhere did it state that she called up RS and admitted it was fabricated (or entirely incorrect, pick an adjective.)

  3. Doody, Obama hasn’t yet. I think if the cult leader starts acknowledging the OBVIOUS than the cult followers will fall in line. Obama has turned the US into Jonestown.

  4. nick/hazx:

    libs are hardly ever right about anything.

    They are just now starting to figure out that terrorists are Islamic fundamentalists.

  5. When this story was first discussed on this blog, there were commenters who were dead certain that, despite big holes in the story, it was absolutely true.

    They seem to have taken today off.

  6. Chip:

    Once the prosecutors or civil attorneys start obtaining depositions we may have a clearer portrait of what really happened, but you are probably correct about the honor court.

  7. Karen:

    Good points, if she didn’t consent to the Rolling Stone article or consent to the actions by UVA officials – she may be off the hook.

  8. I disagree that it is a matter only for the courts. The courts hold sway over any lawsuit the accused may bring. But there should be penalties for making a false report against other students to the university. However, if she did not file a report directly with the university, and the school found out by reading Rolling Stone, then she should not be subject to discipline for filing a false report. But she could still be disciplined for libeling the school and causing such far reaching damage.

  9. Yes, the accuser should be punished if her story is proven false. Is this a question? If you lie about men raping you, that is serious libel. It is my understanding that she did not file a police report, but rather the university rightly opened a police investigation. If she had filed a false police report, then she should be subject to the same penalties as everyone else.

    The law should apply equally to everyone, as “justice should be blind.”

    On the other hand, if her story is not verifiable, but NOT proven false, then she should not be disciplined.

    The message to rape victims should be that no harm will come to you if your story cannot be verified, but if you knowingly lie, the law applies to you.

    And, yes, the wrongfully accused should sue their accuser.

    I visited the victim of the worst gang rape possible in the hospital. It was the roommate of a friend of mine. No one could see her afterward and think nothing was wrong, mainly because she was unconscious, unable to walk, and had injuries the doctors said were consistent with being hit by a car at 70. Her head was swollen like a mellon. It was vicious and savage. At the time, due to the head injury, she had no memory of what happened. Poor lamb, she would never be blamed for not being able to give an accounting.

    Because I’ve seen what can really happen, it makes me furious that there are women out there who lie about rape for their own personal benefit, revenge, politics, or whatever.

    In this particular case, I hope the police release the results of their investigation. It greatly matters to me whether the conclusion is that her claims were unverifiable, or false.

    And as I’ve said in earlier threads, if these claims are false, but she later makes new claims that are true, then that later claim would be judged on its own merit.

  10. “All the President’s Men” is a great non-fiction movie about how real press organizations substantiate facts. It is a very lengthy, costly and painful process to verify the facts before releasing a story to the general public.

  11. I vaguely remember a report that Jackie wanted to spike the story but Rolling Stone went ahead with it. I am not sure where her culpability is at this point. However, the school is fully culpable as is Rolling Stone.

  12. Chip, thanks for the link!

    Maybe since the post-9/11 American justice system now mimics the justice system in “Animal House” it’s now a valid case. Muslim-Americans and politicial speakers are essentially on “Double-Secret Probation”.

    Maybe focus on constitutional searches, equal protection, guilt-by-association and property seizures.

  13. I would like to represent one of the frat members who was damaged by this. Not one of the accused, just one who was wrongly accused just for being a member of the greek named organization. Rolling Stone would be the lead defendant and the President of the Univ would be in the list of defendants. I would not bother to sue the school itself. The President will have insurance coverage. The fun part will be picking a jury in Virginia with the Rolling Stone as the lead defendant. One of my questions to the panel: “Now, are any of you folks subscribers to The Rolling Stone magazine?” “Are any of you familiar with it?” “It is by the other rag publications at the checkout aisle at the local grocery stores here. Right next to Mad Magazine.”

    After the jury is empanelled the judge will call for a quick conference and inform the dorks for the Rolling Stone defendant that there is “a runaway jury” and to settle up.

    If I was trying the case I would have some copies of Rolling Stone in the bathrooms at the courthouse so when the jurors take time out to go sit on the pot they will have a choice and not an echo of what to wipe the arse with.

    An innocent frat boy who was kicked out of the frat house by this whole mess could score some good jury verdict or get a good settlement out of Rolling Stone.
    As for the President of that so called University, she would be fair game before a Virginia jury as well. Just look at her photo.

  14. There’s an interesting constitutional twist also. UVA is a government entity in constitutional terms so there could be Bill of Rights implications if that government entity were to punish students (citizens) without constitutional due process.

    In other words maybe you can have “Double-Secret Probation” with the college justice system in the movie “Animal House” but this is a government run university.

  15. Should the accuser be disciplined if the allegations are found to be false?

    Yes. I’m not sure how though. She should also be personally responsible for repairing and replacing any property damage suffered by the fraternities as a result of her lies and false accusations. The costs of her actions should be borne by her and possibly by the knee jerk administration at UVA as well. If the administration had acted in a prudent and adult manner, much of the backlash could have been minimized. They are culpable too.

    I personally like the idea of public shaming for the false accuser.. Publish her face, name and other particulars so other people, in the future, will know to avoid the lying beiatch. Fair warning to any other guy or person who might be suckered into a relationship with her or hiring her to work for them. If she does this type of thing one, she is going to do it again. Beware.

  16. Steve H, see my 10:35. “UVa” disciplines lying through a student-run process.

    It is up to them, not the administration.

    I don’t know if the results of those trials are made public. If they are kept private, Jackie could be expelled w/o the outside world knowing it.

  17. It’s rare (OK, never) that I wish I was a lawyer so that I can work for free on behalf of the fraternity and the named “culprits.” I’d take the university and Rolling Stone to court; sue the UVA President personally, as well as each member of its Board. And I’d press (hard, very hard) for the local police to charge Jackie with every crime remotely connected to her intentional, calculated lying to police.

    Should she be disciplined by UVa? Silly question. Should the bank robber have to pay the parking ticket for the getaway car?

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