University President Teresa Sullivan announced the suspension of “all fraternal organizations and associated social activities" until Jan. 9 in an email to the University community Saturday.
During the period of suspension “we will assemble groups of students, faculty, alumni and other concerned parties to discuss our next steps in preventing sexual assault and sexual violence on Grounds,” Sullivan said in the email.
The Inter-Fraternity Council had previously announced all fraternities would voluntarily suspend their social activities for this weekend.
Inter-Fraternity Council President Tommy Reid, a fourth-year College student, issued a statement shortly after Sullivan’s email. In it, he emphasized a mission of action by fraternities to act as primary agents for change in sexual assault.
“This is a temporary, short-term action that will ultimately benefit our University and our community in the long-term, not an impulsive move to blame rape on fraternities,” he said in an email. “The temporary suspension grants our fraternity system time to develop substantive and actionable solutions for the future.”
Reid said sexual assault was not just a fraternity problem, but a University-wide problem.
“At times, our organizations are placed with a disproportionate share of the blame for sexual misconduct,” he said. “The IFC recognizes that sexual assault is a problem in fraternities; we also recognize that we can be catalysts for the solution. Banning fraternities will not solve the complicated problem of rape in our society.”
The Board of Visitors will also meet Tuesday to discuss University policy and procedure, as well as the recent allegations.
Sullivan also called upon individuals with knowledge about the alleged gang rape detailed in a Rolling Stone article published Wednesday to come forward.
"There are individuals in our community who know what happened that night, and I am calling on them to come forward to the police to report the facts," she said. "Only you can shed light on the truth, and it is your responsibility to do so."
Sullivan said many members of the University community have contacted her since the Rolling Stone article was published, and she said now is the time for a strong re-revaluation of the University's policies and culture.
"Alongside this investigation, we as a community must also do a systematic evaluation of our culture to ensure that one of our founding principles - the pursuit of truth - remains a pillar on which we can stand," she said. "There is no greater threat to honor than secrecy and indifference."
She said the email and decision to suspend fraternity organizations' activities were in direct response to the outpouring of messages she has received.
"At UVa we speak in idealistic terms: honor and tradition inform our thinking, and balance our daily actions," she said. "And it is easy here, where success is demanded as much as it is sought, to let our idealism outweigh our reality."
Sullivan once again asked the fourth-year class to “embrace your role as leaders and demonstrate a renewed sense of responsibility to our community.”
She also expressed her grief for the passing of second-year College student Peter D’Agostino, “whose passing adds overwhelming emotion to what has been a difficult semester for all of us.”