This past week has seen the University of Virginia endure a hard, jarring fall from grace.

The venerable campus has been rocked and tarnished by a lengthy investigative piece in Rolling Stone that details an alleged gang rape of a freshman while she attended a frat party in 2012:

Jackie had taken three hours getting ready, straightening her long, dark, wavy hair. She’d congratulated herself on her choice of a tasteful red dress with a high neckline. Now, climbing the frat-house stairs with Drew, Jackie felt excited. Drew ushered Jackie into a bedroom, shutting the door behind them. The room was pitch-black inside. Jackie blindly turned toward Drew, uttering his name. At that same moment, she says, she detected movement in the room – and felt someone bump into her. Jackie began to scream.

“Shut up,” she heard a man’s voice say as a body barreled into her, tripping her backward and sending them both crashing through a low glass table. There was a heavy person on top of her, spreading open her thighs, and another person kneeling on her hair, hands pinning down her arms, sharp shards digging into her back, and excited male voices rising all around her. When yet another hand clamped over her mouth, Jackie bit it, and the hand became a fist that punched her in the face. The men surrounding her began to laugh. For a hopeful moment Jackie wondered if this wasn’t some collegiate prank. Perhaps at any second someone would flick on the lights and they’d return to the party.

“Grab its motherfucking leg,” she heard a voice say. And that’s when Jackie knew she was going to be raped.

She remembers every moment of the next three hours of agony, during which, she says, seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement. She remembers how the spectators swigged beers, and how they called each other nicknames like Armpit and Blanket. She remembers the men’s heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on.

The story – which at this point has been shared on social media nearly 200,000 times – proceeds to interweave nationwide campus sexual assault statistics with details on how UVA leaders have allegedly swept such allegations under the rug for years, even decades, to maintain its distinguished reputation. The narrative paints a picture of a university that is numb and unsympathetic to students’ allegations of rape and a fraternity culture that celebrates getting girls drunk and taking advantage of all their orifices.

The article’s compelling tone has swept the university into the glare of the national spotlight. Stories linked on the Drudge Report reference the controversy, and the New York Times reported on it. The pressure has been so great that UVA suspended all fraternities and related activities for the next couple months, and on Tuesday campus officials apologized.

Administrators have also asked police to investigate the reported gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi house, suggesting new details have emerged as a result of the article that they where unaware of, The Associated Press reports, adding campus officials also plan to target underage drinking in their quest to quell the problem, and have pledged to enforce a zero-tolerance sexual assault policy.

“I’d like to say to [the victim] and her parents I am sorry, and to all survivors of sexual assault, I am sorry,” stated George Martin, the board’s rector. “As we said last week, this type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia. The status quo is not acceptable. Like all of you gathered here today, I am appalled.”

After reading the story, it’s easy to be appalled. Although many comments under it are furious at the author, suggesting the piece includes unbelievable details and unfairly paints the university as an elitist institution with a well-hidden rape culture.

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IMAGE: Phil Roeder/Flickr

It was only a matter of time.

The University of Virginia offered a “Game of Thrones” English course this summer, a four-week seminar that divided its focus between the novels and popular HBO television series.

“One of the greatest lessons of ‘Game of Thrones,’ the class argues, is how life goes on after death,” according to a university press release describing the 24-student class.

Thankfully students have Game of Thrones to teach them such concepts!

“One of the goals behind this class was to teach students how the skills that we use to study literature are very useful skills for reading literature and TV in conjunction,” stated Lisa Woolfork, the associate professor of English who taught the class. “ ‘Game of Thrones’ is popular, it’s interesting, but it’s also very serious. There are a lot of things in the series that are very weighty, and very meaningful, and can be illuminated through the skills of literary analysis.”

For those who have not read the books, they are filled with sex, violence, death, murder, witchcraft, necromancy, depression, evil, manipulation, incest, betrayal, deep sadness, and much more. Good story lines, great writing. But very dark. Very disturbing.

As for the TV series, has there ever been a movie that’s better than the book? Yet the professor argues the popular series enhanced the books “in a world where the major sources of storytelling are increasingly visual.” Sigh.

Let’s add this GOT class to the growing pile of pop culture-worship glamorized as serious academic scholarly pursuit.

Similar university classes in the recent past include ones on: 50 Shades of Grey, Harry Potter, Mad Men, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Jay Z.

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h/t: Huffington Post

Police thought she was an underage girl buying booze. But it was only bottled water. After three felony charges and a long night in jail, one student was left traumatized. The College Fix first reported this story last July:

A University of Virginia student was arrested after she fled from state alcoholic beverage control officers–with a bottle of water in her hands.

The raid was intended to crack down on suspected alcohol possession by underage youth. But the “raid” ended up looking like a case of embarrassing overreaction by authorities.

According to a news report of the incident, Elizabeth Daly, 20, bought “a carton of water, cookie dough and ice cream,” and then attempted to exit the Charlottesville store.

That’s when things started to get crazy.

A state beverage control officer–dressed in plain clothes, mind you, not in a uniform that would allow the young lady to easily identify him–approached Daly because the officer thought she was carrying a case of beer.

Apparently, being confronted by this unknown stranger, who was not in uniform and who was demanding to see what she had purchased, spooked the young lady. She told a reporter she and her friends were “terrified” by the sudden confrontation. Well, that’s understandable. Unfortunately, she fled in her car and in the process “struck” two government agents.

Quicker than you can say the words “bottled water,” she was booked on felony charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and eluding police…

Now Ms. Daly is suing for big bucks, according to The New York Daily News:

Daly said she had been terrified when strangers surrounded her car and began pounding on the windows. She couldn’t roll down a window without starting the car, and when she did, one agent jumped on the hood and another pulled a gun, she has said repeatedly since the incident…

Daly called 911 in a panic and eventually surrendered after the dispatcher confirmed that them men swarming her car and attempting to break the windshield were, indeed, officers of the law. They booked her on multiple felony counts and made her spend the night in jail.

“The agents acted with actual malice, out of embarrassment and disgrace … and charged (Daly) with three felonies and did so out of anger and personal spite,” the suit claims.

Sounds like a bunch of vengeful police taking out their frustration on a understandably frightened young co-ed. Still, $40 million sounds a bit excessive.

I guess Ms. Daly is lucky that the officers didn’t shoot her.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

(Image: DonkeyHotey.Flickr)

Christina Hadford, vice chairwoman of the Young America’s Foundation chapter at the University of Virginia, has several valid complaints regarding a so-called Condom Olympics event her venerable college recently hosted:

First, this event lacked any reliable educational component. Advertisements promised the event to be staffed “by local healthcare professionals as well as student leaders from around grounds.” In actuality, neither healthcare professionals nor Peer Health leadership were present for the duration of the event. Rather, Resident Advisors (who, according to interviewed RAs, do not receive any substantial sexual health training) sat around posters decorated with condoms, lube, and questionable facts. The “Condoms and Sexual Health” poster, for instance, derived its information from a website called “ Guyism: What Guys Need” and was written by the author of similarly ridiculous articles like “ Who Would You Rather: Beyonce or Jenifer Aniston?” and “ 14 mind-blowing things you need to know about threesomes.” The “Down ‘n Dirty Jeopardy” poster professed blatant falsehoods. For example, one question,”This is the only contraceptive that can also prevent the spread of STIs, including HIV” had the response “condom.” In fact, abstinence is the only contraception that guarantees protection from STIs.

Well said, Christina. She also pointed out that the event perpetuated the notion that casual sex has no harmful repercussions, and also noted the event was a gross misuse of university funds.

Read the entire well-written piece here.

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IMAGE: Robert Elyov/Flickr

I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing much more of this kind of thing in the near future.

Word is, The University of Virginia is dropping spouses from its health care insurance plan for many of its employees. It’s all in response to new regulations under the Affordable Healthcare and Patient Protection Act, a.k.a “Obamacare.”

I guess you could say that, at least for these employee spouses, Obamacare hasn’t made healthcare “affordabale” any more than it has offered them “protection.”

So much for Orwellian legislation titles.

The University of Virgina, led by the liberal Teresa Sullivan (friend and collaborator of Democratic Senator and self-styled champion of the poor Elizabeth Warren), is dropping spouses’ health insurance due to “rising health care costs” the University announced last Wednesday.

The change effects spouses who are eligible for employee health benefits elsewhere. Too bad for them if it’s more expensive to maintain two separate policies (and two premiums) for a single family.

But what’s amusing about this case, beside the fact that the overwhelmingly liberal leadership of UVA would have you believe that they’re the last ones on earth who’d deprive workers of their benefits, is this: UVA publicly supported Obamacare when it was being debated in Congress.

Yes, UVA administrators were vocal supporters of the bill they now say is forcing them to strip health benefits away from workers.

As the Virginia politics blog BearingDrift reports:

On March 19, 2010, Sally N. Barber, Special Advisor to the Medical Center CEO released publicly a letter to then Congressman, Tom Perriello, endorsing the Democrats’ health care proposal:

“I am writing on behalf of the University of Virginia Medical Center to indicate our support of the health reform package pending before the House because we believe providing affordable health coverage for more citizens of the Commonwealth is critical.” [emphasis added]

Sally Barber and The University of Virginia could not have been more wrong—or more shortsighted…

This is the hypocrisy of tax-and-spend liberalism. They want all kinds of benefits from the government, but they want no part in having to pay for those benefits themselves.

Even a wealthy university like UVA, with an endowment worth more than $5 billion, is telling employees that the level of health benefits they used to provide is just too costly.

UVA leaders should be ashamed to blame legislation they supported for the cancellation of workers’ benefits.

Maybe if they weren’t such reflexive supporters of president Obama and anything and everything he does, they would have had a chance to think more objectively about the consequences of the law they supported.

As it stands now, they’d like you to believe that the move to cancel benefits was entirely forced upon them.

Here’s my suggestion: If money’s so tight at UVA, maybe all the high-paid senior administrators who supported Obama and his health care takeover should start by cancelling their own health plans before taking benefits from the low-paid workers under their leadership.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Like The College Fix on Facebook. / Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

The Huffington Post reports;

Thousands of students at the University of Virginia had their Social Security numbers exposed, the Cavalier Daily reports, putting them at risk of identity theft.

Aetna Student Health, which provides health insurance to students who buy coverage through the school, sent to 18,700 UVA students a brochure that had their Social Security number printed above their name. The university has 21,000 students total.

UVA officials learned of the error last week, and announced that it will provide affected students with free credit monitoring.

Full story here.

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