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UVA suspends all fraternities after gang rape accusations

The University of Virginia suspended all fraternities until early January following a Rolling Stone article that described a student's account of being gang raped and encouraged to keep it a secret.

By Amy R. Connolly

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan suspended all of the school's fraternities and all related social activities until Jan. 9 after a Rolling Stone article detailed a female student's account of being gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

The Nov. 19 article, written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, detailed an account of an alleged gang rape in 2012. The first-year student, identified as "Jackie," told Rolling Stone she was violently attacked by seven men at the well-known fraternity. She was then pressured by her peers to keep the assault a secret and said school administrators who knew about it took no action. The article also said there is a culture of rape and secrecy at the school.

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At a press conference Monday morning, members of the student council, the Intra-Fraternity Council and various campus sexual assault awareness groups expressed concerns about the assault. Tommy Reid, a fourth-year student and president of the university's Intra-Fraternity Council, said the suspension gives the school time to consider the issue.

"It is not the solution," Reid said of the suspension. "Sexual violence is a very serious issue in the greek system."

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe called for the university to review its policies. Late last week, the university asked the Charlottesville police to investigate the incident. Sullivan called on others to come forward for the investigation.

"The wrongs described in Rolling Stone are appalling and have caused all of us to reexamine our responsibility to this community," she said. "Rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation's colleges and universities."

The Phi Kappa Psi national office said the organization has no knowledge of criminal investigations or sexual assault charges brought against any member of the UVA chapter.

Erdely told CNN that other students have since contacted Rollling Stone about being sexually assaulted at the university. The school has 31 fraternities,16 sororities operating with about 6,500 members.

On Tuesday, the university's Board of Visitors, which is responsible for the school's long-term planning, policies and budgets, is expected to discuss the issue.

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