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University Of Virginia Student Leaders Urge Fight Against Sex Assault

Published by Business Insider on Mon, 24 Nov 2014

(Reuters) - Student leaders at the University of Virginia urged the school community on Monday to join together to fight sexual violence after an article in Rolling Stone magazine that described an alleged gang rape on campus at a fraternity house.The Rolling Stone article, published last week, detailed the alleged sexual assault of a freshman woman by seven men at Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 2012. Police are investigating the report.The university, located in Charlottesville, about 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Washington, suspended all activities of its fraternities, sororities and related groups until Jan. 9 to address sexual violence and assault.Student Council President Jalen Ross urged greater discussion, support for assault victims and heightened awareness by students, faculty and alumni to sexual assault."There is only one thing for sure, and that is if you do nothing, you will not help us solve this problem," Ross said at a news conference.Thomas Reid, the president of the Inter-Fraternity Council, which governs 30 fraternities, said the suspension of activities allowed time to set policies to combat sexual violence.Fraternities were united on bringing about a collective change over sexual assault, he said, adding: "We are committed to tearing that out of our campus."The 21,000-student University of Virginia is among 88 schools under federal investigation for its handling of sexual assaults, according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.The university's Board of Visitors, or trustees, are set to meet on Tuesday. It was not clear if the sexual assault allegations would be on the agenda.After the Rolling Stone story, the Phi Kappa Psi house was vandalized, and students and faculty have protested against sexual assault.Rolling Stone said on Friday that it had fielded an "outpouring of comments" from women who shared stories of sexual assault on the campus.Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said on Friday he would appoint an independent counsel to review the school's sexual violence policies.Sensitivities over mistreatment of women are particularly high at the university after the abduction of student Hannah Graham in September and her subsequent murder. A Charlottesville man has been charged in the case.(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)Join the conversation about this story
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