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AG Herring to Appoint Independent Counsel to Review UVA Procedures

Posted: Updated: Nov 21, 2014 11:04 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The University of Virginia's first choice as independent counsel to investigate how the school responds to rape allegations has been scuttled.

Attorney General Mark Herring said Friday that the university agreed to withdraw its appointment of former federal judge and prosecutor Mark Filip. In college, Filip was a member of Phi Kappa Psi - the fraternity named in a Rolling Stone article in which a UVA student described being sexually assaulted by seven men in 2012.

Herring said another investigator will be chosen because "the independence and objectivity of the review must be unimpeachable."

University President Teresa Sullivan also has asked Charlottesville police to investigate the alleged rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The fraternity has voluntarily surrendered its fraternal agreement with the university and suspended all chapter activities.

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Below is a statement from Attorney General Mark Herring regarding the appointment of independent counsel at the University of Virginia:

"As the Chair of the Governor's Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Violence, I deeply understand the seriousness of this issue and am committed to finding ways to improve the climate, policies, and procedures of our colleges and universities. 

In light of the disturbing events described in this week's Rolling Stone article, the University has asked me to appoint an independent counsel to review their structure of prevention and response to reports of sexual violence. This is a necessary step and the independence and objectivity of the review must be unimpeachable. 

Because the University's proposed candidate, former federal Judge Mark Filip, has a prior affiliation with a chapter of the fraternity described in the Rolling Stone article, the University and I agree that, despite the agreement-in-principle between the University and Judge Filip, another candidate will be selected. 

This situation is too serious to allow anything to undermine confidence in the objectivity and independence of this review."