The University of Virginia community is reeling from horrifying accounts of sexual violence and rape detailed in a Rolling Stone piece published earlier this week. The story painfully details a campus culture that allegedly silences victims, disregards offenders, and fails to keep the students informed about sexual assaults on the grounds. Now, students, alumni, and faculty are beginning to address the brutal allegations.
UVA president Teresa Sullivan responded quickly, explaining, rather underwhelmingly, that her administration was “marshaling all available resources to assist our students who confront issues related to sexual misconduct.” On Wednesday, Sullivan requested an investigation of a campus fraternity specifically mentioned in the original piece. But for many in the UVA community, this isn’t enough.
A letter making the rounds on social media is garnering support from faculty, students, and alumni alike. Christine Mahoney, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Politics in UVA’s Batten School, penned the message. “[UVA] faculty want to send a very clear message that this will not happen on our watch,” said Mahoney when I spoke to her earlier today. So far, 127 faculty members have signed the letter.
Read the full text below:
Dear President Sullivan,
We are all heartbroken and enraged after reading Wednesday’s article in Rolling Stone. The extreme violence that was reported is shocking and demands an unequivocal response that we will not tolerate violence against our students.
U.Va faculty, staff, and students have been debating how we might most effectively respond.
As an initial step, we propose a policy that institutes an immediate freeze on activities by any student organizations that are currently under investigation for sexual misconduct and sexual assault.
Further, we call on the Greek System to collectively and voluntarily suspend activities this weekend in light of recent events and out of respect for the survivors of sexual violence on our campus.
We believe this immediate action will be an important first step in sending the message that violence against our students will not be tolerated. It will also send a clear message to fraternities, that if they stand by and fail to intervene in sexual violence, or if they knowingly do not report sexual violence, the activities of their fraternity will be suspended.
We demand seeing this important response implemented,