UVA Promises New 'Zero Tolerance' Policy on Sexual Assaults

PHOTO: Rector George Martin, center left, speaks alongside University President Teresa Sullivan, right, during a board of visitors meeting about sexual assault at the University of Virginia on Nov. 25, 2014 in Charlottsville, Va.Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress/AP Photo
Rector George Martin, center left, speaks alongside University President Teresa Sullivan, right, during a board of visitors meeting about sexual assault at the University of Virginia on Nov. 25, 2014 in Charlottsville, Va.

The University of Virginia said today that it has adopted a zero-tolerance policy in dealing with sexual assaults on campus, after an explosive report about rapes that took place on campus prompted a meeting of the school's governing board.

But school officials did not reveal details of the zero-tolerance policy, noting in a statement that the new rules will be "refined in the near term."

Today's meeting of the Board of Visitors came after Rolling Stone published a story about a student identified as Jackie who was allegedly gang raped during a frat party when she was a freshman. School officials have since come under fire for the way they handle sexual assault cases.

According to Rolling Stone, 183 people have been expelled from UVA for honor code violations like lying or cheating on an exam but not one person has been expelled for sexual assault.

"To Jackie and her parents, I say I am sorry... to the survivors of sexual assault and their families, I am also sorry," Rector George Keith Martin said at today's board meeting, according to the press release.

"This type of conduct will not be tolerated at the University of Virginia. The status quo is no longer acceptable," Martin said.

In the wake of the article's publication, fraternities and sororities at the school were suspended until January and there have been protests on campus calling for action by the administration.

"I write you in great sorrow, great rage, but most importantly, great determination," university President Teresa Sullivan Sullivan wrote earlier in a statement sent to the University of Virginia community. "Meaningful change is necessary, and we can lead that change for all universities."