The University of Virginia was rocked by a Rolling Stone article published on Nov. 19 describing a gang rape that allegedly took place at a campus fraternity house in 2012. On Nov. 22, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan emailed the UVA community to announce a seven-week suspension of all Greek activities at the Charlottesville school’s 32 fraternities and 16 sororities.
The ban included the university’s three Jewish Greek organizations – Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma Delta Tau.
Washington Jewish Week reached out to the chapters and Sigma Delta Tau is not currently permitting members to comment on the Rolling Stone article. Final exams have begun and the president of Alpha Epsilon Pi was not available for comment before press time.
“I believe sexual assault is a university-wide issue. I also believe Greek life can and must play a critical role in changing the culture around this issue,” said Jake Rubin, Brody Jewish Center executive director.
Rubin said that Hillel, along with other faith communities, will be holding conversations and programs around communal responsibility to equip students with the tools needed to intervene and also include discussions on the role alcohol plays in consent at parties on Rugby Road, the center of Greek life at UVA.
“There are strong traditions in Judaism that speak to our responsibility towards one another and the imperative to help those who may be in duress,” said Rubin. “While sexual assault is bigger than Greek life, there is tremendous potential to galvanize this community in order to change the culture around the university.”
UPDATE: A correction was made to this story on Dec. 19 to reflect that Zeta Beta Tau is an actively Jewish fraternity at the University of Virginia.