University of Virginia

U.Va. Frat Leader “Sick to My Stomach” Over Rape Allegation

The president of the University of Virginia's Inter-Fraternity Council says he was sickened by a female student's account of being gang-raped by seven men at a fraternity.

Tommy Reid discussed the account, published recently in Rolling Stone magazine, during a news conference called by student leaders at the campus Monday. The school suspended activities at all campus fraternal organizations on Saturday in response to the Rolling Stone article, which claimed the school had a hidden culture of sexual violence.

"It makes me personally sick to my stomach to think about what happened that one night in that specific fraternity house," Reid said. "But what is the most empowering feeling is the amount of energy behind this issue right now."

The president of the Student Council, Jalen Ross, called the story a "wakeup call" for the university. The university's Board of Visitors is scheduled to discuss the allegations and the university's policies and procedures regarding sexual assaults at its meeting Tuesday.

The student leaders called for solutions but offered few specifics. Ashley Brown, president of One Less, a sexual assault education group on campus, says change won't happen overnight.

President Theresa Sullivan announced Saturday that all fraternity organizations and associated social activities -- which, the Washington Post reported, includes sororities and other Greek organizations -- have been suspended immediately until Jan. 9. The Inter-Fraternity Council voluntarily suspended social activities this weekend.

The Rolling Stone article that sparked the response described one student's brutal gang-rape by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi house in September 2012.

In the article published Nov. 19, a student named Jackie describes the pressure she faced from other students after the incident not to report it, as well as the university’s response to the issue.

Last week, Sullivan asked Charlottesville police to investigate the alleged rape.

The university is one of 86 under federal investigation for inadequately handling sexual-violence complaints, and one of a dozen under a proactive probe launched by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, according to the report.

While the "Rolling Stone" report highlighted one woman’s plight on campus, a subsequent piece published Nov. 21 cast a spotlight on the university’s behavior toward other women -- students and alumni -- who said they suffered sexual assault on UVa.'s campus.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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