Two fraternities at the University of Virginia (UVA) refuse to agree to new rules that regulate parties, instead arguing that school officials are using a discredited Rolling Stone article to "unfairly" punish them.
Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega released statements that assert the university should not have suspended all Greek activity following the November article that detailed an alleged gang rape of a student at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The magazine has since retracted parts of the story and apologized for "discrepancies."
Rolling Stone apologizes for 'discrepancies' in UVA story, while advocates fear fallout
School officials say they will allow Greek life to resume on campus under new rules, including the presence of at least three sober monitors at parties, no pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, and limited party entry to individuals on a guest list.
But the two fraternities say UVA broke an operating agreement when it suspended them and is now forcing change that creates new liabilities for them.
UVA: Fraternities may return with new safety rules
"The fact is the university has never acknowledged that they made a mistake in suspending 25% of the student body that had nothing to do with an article that proved to be erroneous," said Kevin O’Neill, a lawyer representing the two fraternities.
O'Neill says that certain parts of the proposed regulations may put members in a dangerous legal position—such as asking students to stand guard. They are creating "a duty the school should be bearing themselves if that's their concern," says O'Neill.
Organizations have until Jan. 16 to sign the regulations, developed by members of the Inter-Sorority and Fraternity Councils.
Kappa Alpha Order and Alpha Tau Omega say they will both continue operating normally and intend to initiate new members this semester.
"We will have no further comment or action until that date has passed," says UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn. "We remain hopeful that all groups will commit to these reasonable protocols designed to improve student safety" (McDonald, Bloomberg, 1/14; Quizon, Daily Progress, 1/14).
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