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University Of Virginia Apologizes To Student Who Says She Was Gang-Raped

The University of Virginia publicly apologized on Tuesday to a student who told Rolling Stone magazine that she was gang-raped during a fraternity party in 2012.

As we reported, the magazine's harrowing account led to protests and a university ban on fraternities until January.

Sandy Hausman, of NPR member station WVTF, filed this report for our Newscast Unit:

"University President Teresa Sullivan expressed rage after reading of an alleged rape by seven fraternity members in 2012. Critics say their alleged victim, known only as Jackie, was discouraged from pressing charges to protect UVA's reputation, and now Sullivan says her first concern is student safety.

" 'If we can't deliver on this fundamental duty, then we — all of us — will have failed. Jackie's experience shouldn't have happened, and nothing like it should ever happen again,' Sullivan said.

"She's asked police to investigate. The school's governing board is preparing to debate a policy of zero tolerance for sexual assault along with a crackdown on underage drinking at fraternities."

The New York Times reports that at the emergency meeting, police asked anyone who had information about the incident detailed in the Rolling Stone piece to come forward.

The newspaper adds:

" 'There were bystanders,' said the police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., who is also in charge of an investigation of the death of a university sophomore, Hannah Graham, who disappeared in September. 'I hope that those bystanders have the moral courage to come forward and help us with that investigation.'

"Sexual assault on campuses 'points to an entrenched cultural problem in student life,' said Dr. Sullivan, who said news of the sexual assault had left her numb. 'Now is the time, and this is the generation of students when it must stop,' she added. Protesters lined the room and were also outside the campus building where the meeting was held."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.