University of Virginia officials reinstated Phi Kappa Psi, the UVA fraternity with members accused of gang-raping a freshman as part of an initiation ritual in a November Rolling Stone article, on Monday, the first day of the spring term. A police investigation found “no basis” for the allegations of sexual assault.
“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,” said university president Teresa Sullivan, who briefly suspended all fraternities amidst the uproar.
The fraternity, too, was pleased with the news. “In today’s 24-hour news cycle, we all have a tendency to rush to judgment without having all of the facts in front of us. As a result, our fraternity was vandalized, our members ostracized based on false information,” said Phi Kappa Psi president Stephen Scipione. “This has prompted us to take a closer look at ourselves and what role organizations like ours may play in this problem. It’s opened all of our eyes to the problem of sexual assault. Now it’s time to do something about it.”
In the original article, a student named Jackie alleged that she had been gang-raped at Phi Kappa Psi house as a freshman, and that the fraternity members involved referred to her as “it” while holding her legs. The story went on to say that the close friends she contacted discouraged her from reporting the assault because of the prevalence of the fraternity scene on campus, and how that might affect her future at the university. These, and many other details from the Rolling Stone article, were called into question by subsequent investigations.
After the story appeared, Phi Kappa Psi’s house on the UVA campus was vandalized. One piece of graffiti read, “UVA Center for Rape Studies.”