With a green light from the Charlottesville Police Department, the University of Virginia has reinstated Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity named in a disputed Rolling Stone article as the site of an alleged gang rape. That fraternity, like all others at the university, will abide by new rules intended to prevent sexual assault.
The university said in a press release Monday that the decision was made "after consultation with Charlottesville Police Department officials, who told the University that their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi."
The investigation has not yet concluded, and the police have said little about its progress. News organizations, including The Washington Post, have raised questions about the accuracy of the magazine's reporting, with several key parties saying they had not been contacted by Rolling Stone and disputing its account. In December, two Columbia Journalism School deans said they had agreed, at Rolling Stone's request, to conduct an "independent review of the reporting and editorial decision making that led to the publication of its recent story on sexual violence at the University of Virginia."
"In today's 24-hour news cycle, we must guard against a rush to judgment as we often don't have all of the facts in front of us," said Stephen Scipione, president of the Virginia Alpha Chapter Phi Kappa Psi, in a statement.
The University of Virginia's leadership has blasted Rolling Stone, but the president's broader reforms have begun to be rolled out. There is a new Fraternal Organization Agreement Addendum that all fraternities have to abide by. That includes requirements that at least three brothers be sober at fraternity events and assigned to monitor safety. One has to be stationed at the stairs to residential areas. "Beer may be served, unopened in its original can," read the guidelines. "Wine may be served upon request, poured visibly at the bar by a sober brother. Pre-mixed drinks, punches, or any other common source of alcohol are prohibited."