UVA VP & Chief Student Affairs Officer Issues Response to Rolling Stone Article

Posted: Updated: Nov 21, 2014 09:58 AM

The University of Virginia's Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Pat Lampkin sent a letter to students Friday morning addressing issues surrounding the controversial article Rolling Stone article published Wednesday. The article titled "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA," details stories - as told by female students - of being raped at fraternities and then struggling to deal with both the personal and cultural impact at the university.

Lampkin acknowledges the overwhelming emotions on grounds. She says recent events are, "enough to put the strongest of communities into crisis."

“I think obviously the first step is admitting that there is an issue and the second step is addressing that issue and trying to fix it and get better. So obviously it's nice to see that they addressed the issue and hopefully we can do better,” said Ted Kefalas, UVA student.

Lampkin addressed the spectrum of emotions being felt by the UVA community.

“I definitely think she probably just observed it as well and from her own self as an official at the University of Virginia,” said Hagar Sanjakdra, UVA student.

Still students say they would appreciate more specifics about the university's next steps.

“I'd like to see a little more depth in the future, but I think as an initial response, it was definitely a good starting point,” said Nadeem Tabbara, UVA student.

Many want and expect more communication from the administration.

“I'm sure there will be more letters to come in the future regarding everything and i'm sure we'll see a lot of student congregation and activism coming over the next few weeks,” said Courtney Guerette, UVA student,” said Guerette, UVA student.

For this first letter, Lampkin clarifies that UVA will not tolerate sexual assault.

Students hope the heightened awareness and reaction to the Rolling Stone article will help the community come together again.

Read the full letter from Lampkin below. 

Dear Students:

Over the past two days, our community has been deeply affected by the article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine earlier this week. I know that many of you are feeling shocked, dismayed, saddened and, perhaps, betrayed. Our community is hurting. We are concerned about Jackie and we are worried about other survivors who have lived through the horror of sexual assault. Many of us are confused by the contradictions between the UVA. portrayed in the article and the UVA that we know. Many of you are questioning your trust in our University.

President Sullivan and I want to be absolutely clear: we do not tolerate sexual violence in any form. Sexual assault is a crime that can destroy lives and create profound suffering. It has no place in our society, much less in an academic community characterized by freedom and civility.

To add to these overwhelming emotions, we learned late yesterday of the death of a second-year student, the details of which we will share according to his family's wishes as soon as we are able.

This painful set of circumstances comes on the heels of other recent tragedies on Grounds. The constellation of these events would be enough to put the strongest of communities into crisis. But know that we will cope, and together we will heal.

We acknowledge how difficult it is for survivors of sexual assault to talk about their experiences and to feel confident in reporting them, whether to the police or to the University. We will continue, as we always have, to encourage survivors to go to the police, to pursue the University's disciplinary process, and most of all, to take advantage of the many support services available at UVA and in the community. (Please see the end of this message for a list of resources.)

This is a time for us to come together, not to be pulled apart. I hope that we as a community can address this issue in a spirit of deep compassion, concern, trust and resolution.

Patricia M. Lampkin
Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

How to Report Instances of Sexual Assault or if You Need Personal Support:

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Website: http://www.virginia.edu/justreportit/sexualmisconduct/

Counseling and Psychological Services: http://www.virginia.edu/studenthealth/caps.html

Daytime Phone: 434.243.5150; After Hours Phone: 434.972.7004

Office of Dean of Students: 434.924.7133