Updated: This article has been updated from its original version to include statements from the Charlottesville Police and the national Phi Kappa Psi chapter.
The University chapter of Phi Kappa Psi was officially reinstated by both the University and the national Phi Kappa Psi fraternity organization, the University announced in a press release Monday morning.
“The reinstatement resulted after consultation with Charlottesville Police Department officials, who told the University that their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi,” the release stated.
Charlottesville Police Captain Gary Pleasants said the investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but that no evidence indicates Phi Kappa Psi should continue to be under sanction.
“We are looking at the allegations in their totality,” he said, adding that investigators have not yet made a determination about the accuracy of the incident as a whole.
He said police hope to conclude their investigation in a couple of weeks, and they will not disclose more specifics about their investigation until that time.
The chapter voluntarily suspended its activities in November, after allegations were published that month in a Rolling Stone article that the fraternity was involved in a gang rape of a first-year student in Sept. 2012. After the article’s publication, University President Teresa Sullivan requested Charlottesville Police investigate the alleged attack. The accuracy of the article has subsequently been called into question, and friends of the first-year student, Jackie, have noted several discrepancies between what they remember of the assault and how it was portrayed in Rolling Stone.
"Their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis
to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone
article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi.
Brian Ellis, spokesperson for the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, said the national chapter did not have direct contact with police, but heard about the findings after Sullivan met with investigators last week. Additionally, he said members of the University chapter met with investigators and provided them information they obtained during an internal investigation — the findings of which were released last month.
National members offered guidance during the internal investigation, which found that no member of the fraternity was employed at the AFC at the time and there was no date function at the house on the night documented in the Rolling Stone article, but the majority of the investigation was handled by University chapter members.
In a letter dated Jan. 6 sent to Stephen Scipione, president of the University chapter and a third-year College student, Phi Kappa Psi Executive Director Shawn Collinsworth said the national organization was removing the fraternity’s temporary suspension and reinstating the organization back to “good status” in accordance with the body’s governing documents.
“Also, I would like to take a moment and commend the chapter, and specifically the chapter leadership, for their full cooperation with the Headquarters Staff, Executive Council and local law enforcement over the past several months,” Collinsworth said. “It is a true testament of the quality of member that Virginia Alpha currently has in the chapter.”
The fraternity became the first to sign on to a new Fraternal Organization Agreement Jan. 8, which includes new regulations about how University fraternities will conduct parties: mandating sober brothers at each fraternity function, along with requiring guest lists and restricting the types of alcohol that can be served.
In a press release from the Virginia Alpha Chapter, Scipione said the chapter was relieved police cleared the organization of involvement in the incident.
“In today’s 24-hour news cycle, we all have a tendency to rush to judgment without having all of the facts in front of us,” he said. “As a result, our fraternity was vandalized, our members ostracized based on false information.”
He added that the local chapter will participate in the University-wide effort to improve student safety.
“This has prompted us to take a closer look at ourselves and what role organizations like ours may play in ensuring student safety,” he said. “It’s opened all of our eyes to the problem women like Jackie face. Now it’s time to do something about it.”
An earlier version of this story used a quote from Scipione as published in an emailed copy of the University press release. The quote has been updated to reflect the version from the Phi Kappa Psi letter.