Campus rape has once again come to the fore, in the wake of a disturbing Rolling Stone piece published last week alleging that the University of Virginia failed to adequately support a student who was gang-raped at a fraternity two years ago by not bringing her attackers to justice. Although UVA president Teresa Sullivan has mostly deflected claims that UVA has systematically failed victims in this way, the public relations nightmare was apparently too much for her to ignore any longer.
On Saturday, Sullivan made the bold move of suspending all UVA fraternities until early January in an effort to diffuse the situation while campus sexual assault policies could be reevaluated and refined. Other campus consciousness-raising efforts have also ramped up: UVA students held a "Slut Walk" on Friday night to emphasize that rape victims aren't to blame for their rapes, and a "Take Back the Party" protest on Saturday night to draw attention to UVA's fraternity- and alcohol-dominated social scene. Four peaceful protesters were even arrested for trespassing on Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house property over the weekend.
Still, emotions are mixed, as those with ties to UVA waver between pride in what their institution is doing right, and shame over what it's done wrong. Actress Lisa Jakub, a class of 2010 UVA alumna, penned an open letter to the university on her blog in which she threatened to burn her diploma if there was "not significant administrative response to this issue" by the time students return from winter break:
The blame lies primarily with the perpetrators, but you have the power to stand up and say that this will be brought to light. We are not the only college that faces this issue – but we can be the one that faces it the best.
Elsewhere on Twitter, a #SolidarityIsForRapists hashtag surfaced in response to the lack of justice rape victims too often receive. Here are some more reactions we've seen since President Sullivan suspended the fraternities as both supporters of the suspension and defenders of fraternities take to Twitter: