Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stone Campus Rape Investigation - Letter from the President of UVA

Ironically, from what I've heard, Teresa Sullivan, who became UVA's first woman president in 2010, had already recognized that UVA had a problem and made this issue a real priority. I'm impressed with her letter in response to the article and the school's decision to suspend all of the fraternities (if only for seven weeks). It will be very interesting to see what new norms and restrictions are required before they're taken off suspension. (One college president I heard from suggested making them co-ed, as some other colleges have done – though he thinks chances of that happening at UVA are zero.) Here's an excerpt from Sullivan's letter (full letter and article below):

The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community. Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation's colleges and universities. We know, and have felt very powerfully this week, that we are better than we have been described, and that we have a responsibility to live our tradition of honor every day, and as importantly every night.

As you are aware, I have asked the Charlottesville Police Department to investigate the 2012 assault that is described in Rolling Stone. There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts. Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so. Alongside this investigation, we as a community must also do a systematic evaluation of our culture to ensure that one of our founding principles– the pursuit of truth – remains a pillar on which we can stand. There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference.

I write you today in solidarity. I write you in great sorrow, great rage, but most importantly, with great determination. Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities. We can demand that incidents like those described in Rolling Stone never happen and that if they do, the responsible are held accountable to the law. This will require institutional change, cultural change, and legislative change, and it will not be easy. We are making those changes.

Stone Campus Rape Investigation

"The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community," UVA president writes in letter suspending fraternities

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