UVA Reinstates Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity After Investigation Finds No Evidence Of Rape Claims

After months of being suspended and under the intense scrutiny that followed the release of a now disputed article in Rolling Stone, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity has now been reinstated, according to an official announcement on the University of Virginia website.

Phi Kappa Psi along with all other fraternities and sororities on the UVA campus were suspended after the November article, “A Rape on Campus” written by Rolling Stone writer, Sabrina Rubin Erdely. The article alleged that former UVA student, Jackie, was brutally gang raped by members of the Phi Kappa Psi chapter in their on-campus residence during a party.

The article started a fire storm of controversy soon after its publication and led to the ensuing suspensions and investigation of the chapter in question. However, it did not take long for media outlets as well as the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity to point out inconsistencies in Jackie’s story as well as the questionable journalistic methods practiced by Erdely.

More questions surfaced regarding the legitimacy of Jackie’s claims based off of proven inaccuracies. The story underwent even more scrutiny as the writer’s glaring reporting issues surfaced. She is said to have opted to forgo fact checking not to mention the fact that she failed to attempt any contact with those accused and has allegedly misrepresented those close to the reported victim.

As a result of the potentially false accusations, UVA officials requested an investigation be conducted to determine what was truth and what was not.

The reinstatement of the fraternity follows the conclusion of an investigation by the Charlottesville Police Department. An email to the Associated Press, Charlottesville Police Captain Gary Pleasants wrote, “The statement reads that we did not find any substantive basis to confirm the allegations occurred at Phi Kappa Psi, not that we said the assault did not occur. We are still investigating.”

The lack of real evidence of a crime committed led to the next logical step, reinstatement, which comes one week after other UVA fraternities and sororities were released from suspension.

“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,” UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan said.

“We are pleased that the University and the Charlottesville Police Department have cleared out fraternity of any involvement in this case,” said Stephen Scipione, president, Virginia Alpha Chapter Phi Kappa Psi, in a press release. “In today’s 24-hour news cycle, we all have a tendency to rush to judgement without having all of the facts in front of us. As a result, out fraternity was vandalized, our members ostracized based on false information.”

The fraternity’s members were on board with and agree to the new Fraternal Organization Agreement that was presented to President Sullivan.

Scipione went on to say, “We believe that in the midst of this ordeal, there is an opportunity for good. This has prompted us to take a closer look at ourselves and what role organizations like ours may play in ensuring student safety. It’s opened all of our eyes to the problem women like Jackie face. Now it’s time to do something about it. As a fraternity, we are going to continue discussing that need in the coming weeks.”

The majority of UVA’s fraternities have signed the agreement prior to the Friday deadline. However, two fraternities issued statements on Tuesday that informed the university of their decision not to sign it.

Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega issued twin statements saying, “The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities. It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.”

They went on to say, “Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities. We are concerned that the university’s revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself.”

The new agreement was not drafted by university officials, rather by student members eager to better the safety measures in place to ensure that fraternity members and their peers aren’t put in high risk situations on both sides of the spectrum.

UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn echoes these sentiments, but declined to say whether or not the Kappa Alpha Order or Alpha Tau Omega will be subjected to any actions against them.

He said in an email to HuffPost, “We remain hopeful that all groups will commit to these reasonable protocols designed to improve students safety.”

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