Last November, Rolling Stone published a story, “A Rape on Campus,” that centers on the appalling and horrific alleged gang rape at a campus fraternity house at the University of Virginia.
Sunday, Rolling Stone magazine officially nullified and apologized for the discredited article on a fraternity gang rape at University of Virginia after an investigation undermined the story as a “journalistic failure.”
For the past five months, this article has been in the forefront of discussion when it comes to sexual assault on college campuses. The article, published in the magazine’s Nov. 2014 issue, focused on a student named “Jackie” who said she was raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. The article also described a culture of sexual violence fueled by binge drinking in college.
I recall reading this article soon after it was published, and I was completely astounded by the events the article said had taken place. Not only that, but this was at the University of Virginia. This is one of the nation’s highly revered public schools.
But this story is much bigger than the University of Virginia.
This story has maligned and fully discredited the University of Virginia and its chapter Phi Kappa Psi. Phi Kappa Psi’s current members and alumni have been labeled depraved and cast to live under a shadow of disgust since this article was published.
But this is much bigger than Phi Kappa Psi.
Sabrina Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, is the journalist behind the story. Erdely is the mastermind behind this article of lies. And since we’ve unlawfully ridiculed and lashed out on UVA and its chapter Phi Kappa Psi, it’s time for Erdely to lawfully receive a lashing out of her own.
Now, back in February, NBC News suspended anchor Brian Williams after he admitted he told a fib or two about his time spent reporting the war in Iraq. Williams has done his due diligence in the journalism world. He’s a highly respected and profound journalist. But he and Erdely both made one common mistake.
They violated the ethics of journalism. But I can give Williams a pass. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in front of a NBC camera reporting my news. But as for Erdely, Rolling Stone has to do away with her. This is a mistake that shouldn’t go unpunished. Again, Erdely has deprived a university and fraternity of its positive image. Not only that, but she has ruined the lives of others.
She failed to uphold accuracy, fairness, reporting, the whole nine yards. To make matters worse, she fabricated a story with direct ties to sexual assault. She couldn’t have disrespected the field of journalism in a worse way.
Give it some thought.
As a women, do you feel comfortable stepping forward now? Here we have a woman journalist, who without question has found some success in the field of journalism, who has lied. I assume she is a success because she works for Rolling Stone, one of America’s better consumer magazines. Maybe, now, the notion that women lie about sexual assault has grown. It has grown because even a woman journalist has taken the necessary steps to falsify information.
Sexual assault isn’t just some throw-away topic, especially on college campuses. Maybe a sexually assaulted victim’s willingness to speak up might be diminished because of Erdely’s failure to uphold the principles and ethics of journalism.
Hey, maybe Erdely and or Rolling Stone were doing some wishful thinking. Maybe this article would ring bells and pound alarms about sexual assault on campus. Maybe they thought they could challenge universities around the nation to take no prisoners when handling sexual assault.
As for Rolling Stone, their punishment may be coming. According to the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi, they’re going to pursue all available legal action against the magazine.
As bad as this is, I think Erdely did universities a positive. No school wants such negative publicity surrounding its campus. As a university, you now have to enforce and police any future cases with an iron fists. No longer should a journalist feel entitled to fabricate a sexual assault case.
I’m just a college student with journalist’s dreams and a wish. Erdely should be an unemployed journalist with a wish of going back in time. Maybe when she comes back to the future, I’ll have her job. Nothing wrong with wishful thinking.