Rolling Stone Issues Apology Letter For ‘Discrepancies’ In UVA Article

A letter was released on Friday by Rolling Stone as a means of apologizing for what the magazine is calling “discrepancies” in a an article that was published in November. The article in question detailed an alleged gang rape that took place at the Phi Kappa Si house on the University of Virginia campus.

The story has shaken the very foundation of the administration, faculty and many of the students attending the university. In its wake, all fraternities and sororities as well as their collective activities have been suspended until January 9th while investigations are conducted and the policies in place to handle cases of sexual assault are reviewed.

The apology from the magazine comes on the heels of the articles author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, steadfastly standing by her work amid media scrutiny and criticism. The following is the statement issued by Rolling Stone’s senior editor, Will Dana:

To Our Readers:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gange rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed particiapated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault on campus in forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we hae come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Will Dana

Managing Editor

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity released a statement of their own pointing out what they say are discrepancies in the article and in the victim’s recollection of the incidents. The first error noted in the statement is that of no record of any fraternity members being employed at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. There reportedly wasn’t a party on the date in question when they assault occurred. Lastly, the initiation period referenced in the article is claimed to take place in the spring and not the fall as suggested.

The combination of media scrutiny and the statement from Phi Kappa Psi are said to be contributing factors of the issued apology from the magazine.

The reaction has been largely mixed with some blaming the magazine for not accurately fact checking and other blaming Jackie in addition to suggesting that her story is untrue.

The claims against Jackie are also sparking further conversation and even the hashtag of #IStandWithJackie. There are many that suggest her story is indeed true and that the trauma of her experience may have made it difficult to recall the details perfectly.

The details of the alleged events at the Phi Kappa Psi house are now being investigated further and as more details come forward, we will be sure to report on it.

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