Citing ‘Untrue’ Rape Claim, UVA Fraternities Refuse To Sign New Agreement

Chuck Ross | Reporter

Two University of Virginia fraternities are refusing to agree to a new set of rules governing fraternity parties, arguing that the new requirements are based on a lie.

“The University violated the previous FAO [Fraternal Operating Agreement] as well as student individual and organizational rights,” the two fraternities, Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega, wrote in similarly-worded letters on Tuesday.

“The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities,” the letters continued.

The fraternities are referring to UVA president Teresa Sullivan’s blanket suspension of all Greek-life activity on Nov. 22, days after the publication of a Rolling Stone article which reported claims made by a student named Jackie who said that in Sept. 2012 she was gang-raped by seven members of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

Jackie’s claims have been all but completely debunked, however. Jackie has not publicly admitted she fabricated the claim, but several friends of Jackie’s have come forward claiming that she changed her story numerous times. There is also strong evidence that she fabricated a UVA student she claimed she went on a date with the night of the alleged rape. The Phi Kappa Psi member Jackie claims coordinated her gang-rape also appears not to have existed.

The Charlottesville Police Department is still conducting an investigation, but recently announced there there was no evidence that Phi Kappa Psi members were involved in the gang-rape. UVA reinstated the fraternity on Monday, and it was the first to sign the FAO.

The new FAO, which Sullivan announced last week, would prohibit fraternities from serving pre-mixed drinks and punches and also require “sober brothers” to pour the drinks. Fraternities would also have to maintain guest lists and provide security for house parties. The FAO also requires “sober brothers” — stationed at the bottom of each house’s stairs — to have access to upstairs rooms.

Fraternities must sign the new agreement by Jan. 16 in order to be reinstated, according to Sullivan.

Despite the dissension by Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega, a university spokesperson said “We remain hopeful that all groups will commit to these reasonable protocols designed to improve student safety,” according to WVIR.

Kappa Alpha Order’s statement:

Kappa Alpha Order is not signing the new Fraternity Operating Agreement (FOA) for two reasons:

It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.

Second, Kappa Alpha Order’s own risk management policies, much like the policies of all national fraternities and sororities, are as strict or more strict than this new FOA. Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities. We are concerned that the university’s revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself.

Together, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights.

Kappa Alpha Order fully welcomes the opportunity to work with UVA on continuing dialogue of partnership and risk management education. This should occur on an ongoing basis, not under these pretenses.

Alpha Tau Omega stated:

INDIANAPOLIS-Alpha Tau Omega is not signing the new Fraternity Operating Agreement (FOA) for two reasons:

The University violated the previous FOA as well as student individual and organizational rights. The system-wide suspension, which was initiated for reasons that were found to be untrue, unfairly punished all members of fraternities and sororities. It was maintained and used as leverage to require the changes to the FOA. Because we do not accept the validity of a suspension imposed in contravention of the existing FOA, university policy, Virginia law and the constitutional rights of our members, we are not compelled to sign a revised FOA to continue operations on campus.

Second, Alpha Tau Omega’s own risk management policies, much like the policies of all national fraternities and sororities, are as strict or more strict than this new FOA. Our chapter will comply with the more restrictive of the policies in its activities. We are concerned that the university’s revision to the FOA may create new liability for individual members of our organizations that is more properly a duty to be borne by the university itself.

Together, these circumstances set a dangerous precedent of an erosion of student and organizational rights. Alpha Tau Omega fully welcomes the opportunity to work with UVA on continuing dialogue of partnership and risk management education. This should occur on an ongoing basis, not under these pretenses.

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