Rolling Stone Is Sorry for Its Apology

141205175643-rolling-stone-uva-rape-on-campus-tablet-largeAfter its article about rape at the University of Virginia, Rolling Stone has made a couple of apologies. The article described a gang rape at a fraternity and other issues of sexual assault on campus. Since it was published, the Washington Post found some discrepancies in the story.

In a statement, the fraternity disputed some of the allegations and connections. They denied having a social event during the weekend in question, found no member of the fraternity working where the victim claims to have met him, and affirmed its commitment to the university's code regarding pledge initiation: 

"Third, our Chapter's pledging and initiation periods, as required by the University and Inter-Fraternity Council, take place solely in the spring semester and not in the fall semester. We document the initiation of new members at the end of each spring. Moreover, no ritualized sexual assault is part of our pledging or initiation process. This notion is vile, and we vehemently refute this claim."

Rolling Stone Managing Editor Will Dana responded, at first, rather strongly.

"In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie's account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged perpetrators to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story."

Subsequently, the magazine issued a statement describing its reporting process in more detail and expressing regret for granting the victim's request to not speak with the alleged assailants. The tone is softer and accepts more of the responsibility rather than blaming Jackie's trustworthiness: "These mistakes are on Rolling Stone, not on Jackie."

Letters and articles in UVA's Cavalier Daily give us a window into discussions on campus about the story.

Discussion Starters:

  • After reading the Rolling Stone and Washington Post articles, what's your view of the story? How
  • Read a few letters and articles in Cavalier Daily. How do these shape your thinking about the Rolling Stone story?