In the month since Rolling Stone published its infamous “rape of Jackie” story about a University of Virginia student who was brutally raped at a fraternity party, a number of things have come to light.
First, the story was false; Jackie was not raped, there was no party at the fraternity house in question the night the assault was supposed to have occurred, and even Jackie’s “date” was a work of fiction.
Second, UVA officials acted in typical Pavlovian style when RS published the story: President Teresa Sullivan – whose tenure at UVA already has included an unsuccessful attempt by the board to oust her – suspended all campus Greek activities until 2015, which meant no Christmas parties and end-of-semester bacchanalias. Campus protesters (What would we ever do without them?) acted predictably and made their usual sets of demands. People said All The Right Things about the One-In-Five-or-Four standard of alleged campus rapes and sexual assaults that the Obama administration used to impose sets of rules that essentially eliminate due process for male students accused of sexually violating female students.
The day that the UVA story really began to fall apart, a graduate school friend of mine called and we were discussing the case. I told him that either one of us could write what would be Sullivan’s response; and sure enough she said pretty much what we predicted, paraphrased as: The fact that this account has “discrepancies” should not get in the way of dealing with sexual assaults on campus. In other words, we must stick with the narratives no matter how false the “facts” to support them may be. Furthermore, one senses that Sullivan was disappointed that the story was a hoax, and the fact that it was based upon lies only gets in the way of Sullivan’s trying to remake UVA into a cartoonish PC organization.