Rolling Stone retracts UVA campus rape article

A Rolling Stone article recounting a University of Virginia student's account of a brutal rape was published last November, called, "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA." Many readers probed the validity of the story, and it became a national controversy when the Washington Post suggested the assault couldn't have taken place the way it was described. On Monday, Rolling Stone's managing editor Will Dana announced that article had been retracted.

"With its publication, we are officially retracting 'A Rape on Campus.' We are also committing ourselves to a series of recommendations about journalistic practices that are spelled out in the report. We would like to apologize to our readers and to all of those who were damaged by our story and the ensuing fallout, including members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and UVA administrators and students. Sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and it is important that rape victims feel comfortable stepping forward. It saddens us to think that their willingness to do so might be diminished by our failings."

Rolling Stone reached out to the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism to investigate their original report, and Rolling Stone said they would publish Columbia's report in full, encouraging them to write whatever they want.

Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report

Rolling Stone's original article told the story of "Jackie," a UVA freshman attending her first frat party in September of 2012. She said she was invited by a third-year student she knew from a campus lifeguarding job, and was taken to a dark bedroom and gang raped, apparently coached by the fellow lifeguard. Jackie wouldn't give the reporter his name before publication. Editors and the author said they may have been too accommodating to the victim, and in doing so, may have done her a disservice.

Rolling Stone hoped the investigation would prompt UVA and other campuses to do better, but instead, the magazine admitted the article could have served to promote the idea that many victims invent rape allegations. Columbia's report cited a report from Violence Against Women that says the rate of false rape allegations is 2 to 8 percent. [PDF]

Reporting sexual assault at the U of M

The University of Minnesota's Aurora Center for advocacy and education about sexual assault outlines University policies, step-by-step common reactions to sexual assault and provides a procedure for reporting violence and harassment.

Read more: Administrative procedure

"Aurora advocates have experience and can help you through all the information, steps, and processes whether you report to police, an academic or student program, a university disciplinary office, etc. Our goal is to support you and help you through the steps," the Center's website says.

The Aurora Center has not yet offered comment on the UVA allegations or on Monday's announcement from Rolling Stone.
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