“No Basis To Believe That An Incident Occurred”


Phi Kappa Psi, the frat accused of gang rape by Rolling Stone, is no longer suspended:

As the spring semester started at UVA, the school reinstated its chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, saying police have cleared the frat, for now. Charlottesville police Captain Gary Pleasants confirmed that while they’re still investigating the case, “We found no basis to believe that an incident occurred at that fraternity, so there’s no reason to keep them suspended.”

Friedersdorf feels that the frat deserves apologies:

The fact that Phi Kappa Psi’s membership was falsely accused of this crime does not mean that most rape accusations are false–the opposite is true–or that there isn’t a need to reduce the number of rapes and sexual assaults that happen on college campuses, even granting that some activists overstate the number of victims.

It should be possible to push for reforms that would reduce the too-high number of rape victims while advocating against rushes to judgment in individual cases. All credible rape accusations should be investigated. Before the results are in the accuser should have the private support of friends and various resources. But nothing is gained when angry mobs with no particular knowledge of a case gather en masse to shout epithets at people who weren’t even accused as individuals.

Amen, Conor. Erik Wemple points out that the “awful Rolling Stone story continues to drive reforms”:

To diminish the chances that drugs will get dropped into drinks, the changes ban kegs, require “sober brother monitors” at parties and ban “pre-mixed drinks, punches, or any other common source of alcohol.” Examples of actual journalism rarely land with such impact.

But some frats are resisting the new rules:

Alpha Tau Omega and Kappa Alpha have released nearly identical statements refusing to sign U.Va.’s new requirements that fraternities alter their activities following a two-month suspension on social activities. The new rules require a certain number of fraternity brothers to be sober and present and different places around the house and set limits on what kinds of alcohol can be served and in what containers.

I think that’s a  splendid idea. At Burning Man, a highly organized party, each camp had designated sober members every night on watch for trouble or accidents or anything else. If 60,000 partiers in the Nevada desert can organize that, I don’t see why a frat cannot. Eliza Gray wonders if the reforms will do any good:

[I]t appears that UVA may not be doing much to enforce the reforms—a reflection of the tricky nature of governing private organizations on campus. According to ABC News, UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said the university would not provide staff to monitor the fraternities to because they are privately owned. “The University will work closely with Greek leadership to support them in seeking compliance with the new practices by their members,” de Bruyn told Time. “Should violations be brought to the University’s attention, as has been the case it the past, the Dean of Students Office will investigate, and any appropriate next steps would be based upon the details of each case.”

The lack of formal monitoring raises questions as to whether the reforms will have any teeth.

(Cropped photo from a protest against Phi Kappa Psi by Bob Mical.)