CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A fraternity leader at the University of Virginia said Monday that a female student’s account of being gang-raped by seven men during a party made him “sick to my stomach.”
Tommy Reid, president of the U.Va. Inter-Fraternity Council, said during a news conference called by student leaders that a temporary ban on fraternity activities will give the Greek system a chance to “take a breath” and come up with solutions.
The ban was imposed after Rolling Stone magazine published an article detailing the woman’s account and describing what it called a hidden culture of sexual violence. University President Teresa Sullivan has asked police to investigate the alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house, and she has said the article contained details previously unknown to officials.
Reid and other student leaders called for solutions Monday, though they offered few specifics.
“It made me angry, more than anything, it made me sad that this could happen in a community that we all value so highly,” said the fraternity leader, Tommy Reid, at a news conference on campus here Monday. “It was disorienting.”
The school had appointed a former federal judge and prosecutor to investigate its response to rape allegations, but that was withdrawn because the man had been a member of Phi Kappa Psi in college.
In the meantime, the university’s Board of Visitors is scheduled to discuss the allegations and the university’s policies and procedures regarding sexual assaults at its meeting Tuesday. Other groups on campus will be asked to hold similar discussions.
The president of the Student Council, Jalen Ross, called the Rolling Stone story a “wake-up call” for the university.
“There are atrocities being perpetrated here that fly in the face of every principle that we believe in,” he said.
Groups aimed at preventing sexual assault also spoke out Monday. Brian Head, president of the U.Va. chapter of the rape prevention group One in Four, said his biggest fear is that when attention dies down, momentum for change will die with it.
Ashley Brown, president of One Less, a sexual assault education group on campus, said change won’t happen overnight.
“Seeking an end to sexual violence takes patience and persistence,” she said.
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