By Valerie Strauss
An anonymous letter sent to the University of Virginia student newspaper takes credit in the name of unnamed students for vandalizing a fraternity house that has been at the center of a Rolling Stone magazine story about a gang rape that allegedly occurred there. What’s more, the students who took responsibility for the vandalism said they would “escalate” and “provoke” the university until its demands are met.
The fraternity house of the university’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter was vandalized early Thursday, with windows broken and the words such as “SUSPEND US” spray painted on the walls. The Rolling Stone article tells the story of a freshman who alleges that she was gang-raped by seven male students at the fraternity house in 2012. The story says that she told university officials but did not press charges after being discouraged by friends.
The student Cavalier Daily reported that the letter, sent by a “John Doe” and signed by “the students who vandalized the Phi Psi house,” said university authorities should carry out:
“An immediate revision of University policy mandating expulsion as the only sanction for rape and sexual assault.”
“The immediate suspension of UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi chapter, and a thorough review of the entire fraternity system.”
“A thorough overhaul of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Board and the resignation of Dean Nicole Eramo.”
“The immediate implementation of harm reduction policies at fraternity parties, such as policing, University supervision, or permission for parties to be held in safer environments such as sorority houses.”
The fraternity’s university chapter said in a statement Thursday afternoon that it had “no specific knowledge of the claims” in the Rolling Stone article but took the allegations seriously and was voluntarily suspending its Fraternal Organization Agreement with the university, which effectively stops all fraternity activities. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said that the university will investigate the rape allegations made in the article and review policies and procedures involving sexual assault on campus. University President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement that she had asked the Charlottesville, Va., police to investigate the allegations of the 2012 rape.
The anonymous letter claiming credit for the vandalism at the frat house also said:
“We applaud the bravery of those who have shared their stories, and we promise that their bravery will not be in vain. This situation is just beginning. We will escalate and we will provoke until justice is achieved for the countless victims of rampant sexual violence at this University and around the nation.”