This week, the University of Virginia announced that it is reinstating the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The chapter was suspended when Rolling Stone published allegations that an undergraduate named Jackie was brutally gang-raped at one of its parties.
Rolling Stone's feature has since been discredited by commentators and news organizations including The Washington Post, which rigorously debunked its reporting. The debunking is consistent with the findings of police in Charlottesville, who've concluded that while Jackie may or may not have been raped or assaulted on the night in question, she was not attacked at Phi Kappa Psi.
Fortunately, no individual members of Phi Kappa Psi were named in the false allegations. It is nevertheless worth reflecting on the collective ordeal that they suffered when it was widely believed that many of them engaged in premeditated evil.
Prior to these allegations, the collegians were living in their frat house. After the publication of the Rolling Stone story, the young men began to receive hate emails, voicemails, and threats of violence. Angry protestors massed outside their house and shouted as if at gang-rapists. That alone must've seemed surreal and difficult to face, especially for a group of 18-to-22-year-olds. Then in the wee hours of one morning, vandals broke several frat house windows with chunks of cinder block and bottles and tagged the outside of the house. "This situation is just beginning," the perpetrators soon threatened in an anonymous letter. "We will escalate and we will provoke until justice is achieved for the countless victims of rampant sexual violence at this University and around the nation." Needless to say, the vandals achieved no justice for rape victims by victimizing these young men.