CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — The chairman of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors ripped into Rolling Stone magazine Friday for unfairly tarnishing the school’s image with a piece of “drive-by journalism,” hurting innocent people and setting back sex assault prevention efforts.
At a special board meeting on campus, Rector George K. Martin gave his most expansive comments since doubt was cast on a Rolling Stone article that described a culture of sexual violence hiding in plain sight at U.Va.
The article, published last month, described in graphic detail an alleged gang rape at a fraternity house on campus. Its publication set off a frenzy of recriminations at the school, one of the top public universities in the country. U.Va. suspended fraternity activities until January, the Board of Visitors appointed an independent investigator to look into the allegations and the university handed the case over to the Charlottesville police.
But problems with the story became apparent after publication. Many of the students described in the article have since said the magazine’s account is misleading and wrong. The magazine has since apologized for what it calls discrepancies.
“Like a neighborhood thrown into chaos by drive-by violence, our tight knit community has experienced the full fury of drive-by journalism in the 21st century,” Martin said in his opening remarks. “Our great university’s reputation has been unfairly tarnished.”
Martin pledged that the campus would not respond in anger, but would continue to work on sex assault prevention efforts and try to learn from the entire episode.
He said Rolling Stone’s “catastrophic failure of professionalism” should “teach us to be less quick to judge.”