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UVa Reinstates Accused Fraternity; Police Probe Continues

This week, the University of Virginia reinstated its chapter of Phi Kappa Psi.The fraternity was suspended in November, after an article in Rolling Stone magazine described a brutal gang rape of a female student, alleged to have occurred during a Phi Kappa Psi party in 2012.  WMRA’s Andrew Jenner has the story.

Since the article came out, subsequent investigations by the university, the fraternity, law enforcement and other media have not corroborated that Rolling Stone account. The magazine has since acknowledged that there “appear to be discrepancies” in the story it published, but has not fully retracted it.

A Charlottesville Police investigation is continuing. UVA President Teresa Sullivan reinstated Phi Kappa Psi after consulting with police on the status of the investigation.

In a written statement, President Sullivan said UVA will work with its fraternities and sororities to keep all students safe. To that end, the university has set new safety and supervision requirements for frat parties.

In a separate statement, Phi Kappa Psi’s chapter president Stephen Scipione said the experience has prompted new commitment within his fraternity to create a safer environments for students.

Captain Gary Pleasants of the Charlottesville Police Department says that its investigation will likely last several more weeks.

GARY PLEASANTS: The university has reinstated Phi Kappa Psi and allowed them to open their social calendar as they have every other fraternity up there now. We saw no reason for them to continue to have sanctions against Phi Kappa Psi with the direction our investigation is going.

Pleasants would not comment on whether the investigation has uncovered any evidence to support or debunk Rolling Stone’s reporting. He also declined to comment on whether any criminal charges are expected.

Andrew Jenner is a freelance reporter based in Harrisonburg. After working as a journalist in the Shenandoah Valley for a decade, he spent three years living and reporting in Brazil, returning to Harrisonburg in the summer of 2018. Andrew has reported for TheAtlantic.com, The Washington Post, Deutsche Welle, Discover, Modern Farmer, and many others. He is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University, has a MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College, and almost made it onto Jeopardy! a few years ago.