Today’s Penn State Daily Collegian editorial amazingly wonders “what would legal action give the organization [UVA’s Phi Kappa Psi] that they don’t already have?”
That’s right, despite the fact that Rolling Stone’s story about how members of that fraternity gang-raped a student has been thoroughly discredited, not to mention officially retracted by the magazine, suing the publication for its misdeeds would be … “harmful,” says the DC editorial board.
While we understand the fraternity may have a right to legal action, we don’t support its decision to pursue a case.
What would legal action give the organization that they don’t already have? With all of the media covering of this case, it has become general knowledge the fraternity’s name has been cleared and the article has been retracted.
Legal action to clear Phi Kappa Psi’s name is unnecessary. The question must be asked: if the name has been cleared, what is it that the organization wants?
“Clearly our fraternity and its members have been defamed, but more importantly we fear this entire episode may prompt some victims to remain in the shadows, fearful to confront their attackers,” the Virginia Phi Kappa Psi chapter’s president, Stephen Scipione, said in the statement. “If Rolling Stone wants to play a real role in addressing this problem, it’s time to get serious.”
But this statement is contradictory.
If the fraternity is truly concerned about those who have been sexually assaulted remaining in the shadows, afraid to come forward, it wouldn’t continue to drag out this process.
The most important thing to come out of this failed journalism is the concept that sexual assault is a huge problem on college campuses, and false accusations are extremely unlikely. We cannot let this situation hurt and set back sexual assault reporting and investigating.
Let that last paragraph sink in for a moment. A long moment.
This whole preposterous exposition not only believes that Rolling Stone should pay no price for its actions and the fact the frat has been cleared is good enough for its members … but that the most important result of this entire episode is that “sexual assault is a huge problem on college campuses, and false accusations are extremely unlikely.”
If you can get past that, perhaps even more astonishing is this line: “It [a lawsuit] will show anyone who may have something to say against a fraternity that they have the power, they can sue and they will essentially always win.”
Did the members of this editorial board actually follow this whole sordid tale? How the “victim’s” story was believed, reported on sans numerous journalistic standards, and then whose narrative was blasted across the media landscape virtually uncontested?
Where was the frat’s supposed omnipotence then?