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UVA Officials Hold Emergency Meeting to Discuss Sexual Assaults

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia. The status quo will no longer be acceptable,” university rector says

UVA Rape

Members of the audience hold signs during a board of visitors meeting about sexual assault at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 25th, 2014.

Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress/AP

University of Virginia board members held an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent the types of sexual assault documented in Rolling Stone‘s harrowing report “A Rape on Campus.” Last weekend, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan suspended all fraternities effective immediately through the start of the spring semester on January 9th. While that decision offered a temporary solution, Tuesday’s meeting searched for recommendations to combat the problem long-term.

The timing of the meeting – a few days before the majority of the campus departs for Thanksgiving break – stressed its importance. UVA board members, faculty, students and a Charlottesville, Virginia, police chief convened to talk about the matter, its backlash and ways to implement “substantive policy changes to address the problems,” the New York Times reports.

“This type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia,” UVA Rector George Keith Martin said. “The status quo will no longer be acceptable. I am appalled, simply appalled.” Board members hoped to have recommendations for policy changes within a few weeks. The emergency meeting comes just days after hundreds of protestors lined the university, including the steps of Phi Kappa Psi where the sexual assault occurred.

According to the New York Times, much of the meeting focused on the fraternities’ consumption of alcohol and hazing rituals. While the school itself has received scrutiny for not handing down harsher punishments in instances where sexual assault occurs, the administration largely declined to shoulder the blame for its role, though one board member said, “Part of the reason we got here is because we swept things under the rug.”

As for the probe into the sexual assault detailed in the Rolling Stone article, the university and law enforcement have pledged to investigate the case, with Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. saying at the meeting, “There were bystanders. I hope that those bystanders have the moral courage to come forward and help us with that investigation.”

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