UVA Student Leaders Respond to Sex-Assault Article

School fraternities suspended after Rolling Stone story.
28:40 | 11/24/14

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Transcript for UVA Student Leaders Respond to Sex-Assault Article
A scandal at the University of Virginia sparked by a Rolling Stone article over an alleged rape case. The school accused of sweeping these cases under the rug for years. And be campus suspending all fraternity activity the students protesting. Over the weekend I'm Michelle Franzen in New York student leaders at UVA now speaking out on this issue this morning. The article shining in on wants spotlight on the school all of a sudden let's listen in. I mean Reid is the president of the in a fraternity council. Will katic in Sarah surface Erica Robertson. From sexual violence prevention coalition. And Alex tingle to end in any forests. Who guards they are advocates. And strong survivors. We'll studies a second today you hear statements from myself from Tommy from Ashley and Brian. In the Los lonely time for questions after that. Last Wednesday Rolling Stone magazine delivered this university you wake up call. Sexual assault is a problem that needs our un divided attention. There are atrocities. Being perpetrated here that fly in the face of every principle that we believe it. And all this comes near the end. Of an extraordinarily difficult to master. Too many tragedies. This year of the blessed us to wrangle with grief. Without. Anger even fear. As a community as students as faculty as staff as citizens of Charlottesville all of us. We're hurting. Many this we have called for solution. For an end in answer to sexual assault. We don't have that answer. But if we have any chance at finding at building one at building a solution you'll have to be together. That we do. United we may have the strength. For decisive action but divided we will fly. We SB one community. Committed to this. One student body and one university. This is our problem to salt. That means every single one of us all of us have a role to play in finding that solution. So did anyone watching or reading or listening what their part of this community or not I see this. We may not be on the news tomorrow. But this will still be worth door attention to more. And the day after that. And the day after that. Did you think he right now there is nothing that you can do about this. Your role. You can take a minute. To learn about this issue to educate those around. Even talks your sons your daughter's not healthy relationships and respect you can become an advocate you can tell your story. You can support survivor. With a loading strength they deserve. You can step in with something looks wrong. You can show opener thank you can start a discussion in fact there is only one thing for sure and that is if you do nothing. You will not help us solved this problem. Now our friends our Brothers our sisters our sons our daughters cannot afford for you and for us. To do not. But as we all out it's important to remember that it is easy. To hate. It's easy to cast whole communities into doubt it is easy to deny what to hide from this easy to be rash. This isn't easy. Problem. And thousands of us this week. Have committed to responding to this horrid problem with horrid work. I hope that each and every one of you. Will join us in doing. Many people behind me are leading this charge. And they are the people that daily inspired. Who had incredible stories incredible passion and incredible dedication to making this university the safe haven that it ought to be. And so I'm proud stated there my partners. In helping to end sexual violence. They are your partners in helping to end central violence. And I'm proud not what you hear directly from. Yeah. As students. As men but above all as human beings. I hit and the rest of the end for turning council. Were horrified and viscerally sad and by the stories of sexual violence shared in the Rolling Stone article released this past when saying. We cannot begin to correct the emotional and physical trauma survivors of sexual assault experience and recognize. That rape and sexual violence occur far too frequently. On college campuses including our own. The members of the unit for turning council are united. In our admiration. For the survivors you. Courageously. Share their stories in this article. We recognize that sexual violence is a problem and our attorneys and we recognize that we. The students. To be catalysts for the solution. The temporary suspension after attorneys. Gives our community a time to breathe and to develop more substantive. And actual changes that confront confront this complicated problem. In a long term. Addressing this issue. Requires individual. And collective commitments. To institutional and cultural change. Across the country. And our university. In our fraternities. The most importantly. In ourselves. I think it's so important to remember that. All members and is university community all members of the attorney qanooni of those standing behind me. And in front of me and everyone watching this we share a common goal. The elimination of rate in our society. And students that you VA the fraternity community are tears. And the leader standing behind me we are committed. To carrying that out on our campus. Greek not angry female. Male professor student. We are all allies in the fight against sexual violence. Load individual alone. Canoes solve this cultural problem it takes a strong. And committed community. Over the next month and beyond. We will stands. Together. As that community. Thank you. Good morning my name is actually brown and I am the president of one must CVS. One must commence the bravery of the individuals who came forward and share their personal stories. These testaments are heartbreaking but there are hard reality we all must face. This is our opportunity as individuals. As students and as a community at large to rise up and say enough. Enough passage but he enough stigma and up silence. We each must ask ourselves what am I doing in my own life to Foster a safe space for survivors. How am I contributing to the problem. And how could I be a part of the solution. We each have a part to play in ending sexual violence both here EVA and beyond. The accounts listed are part of a national act epidemic for which she VA was just one example. Despite recent characterization. For years when less is mission as an organization. Has been to push for rape and sexual assault prevention education. Now more than ever we will passionately fight for survivors and educate our pierced. On how to be active bystanders. Compassionate supporters and respectful of each person's healing journey. One last recognizes the tremendous amount of courage it took for a decent young women to do what they did. And we implore all of you to honor their privacy and their dignity. We hope that as time goes on this issue remains in the forefront of people's minds. The change will not happen overnight it requires a shift both culturally and institutionally. Seeking an end to sexual violence takes patience and persistence. We can and we will continue to fight for sustainable change together. Hello and I was Brian head. And I'm the president one for the all male sexual assault Tradestation Group here deviate. Rape and sexual salts are terrible crimes. One that affect me and those around me very deeply. Unfortunately. These acts are committed far too often throughout the world the nation. And our community. This article shines a spotlight on the horrible experiences some survivors go through. And also addresses the failures and shortfalls. In the methods of prevention. The ways we seek justice. And most importantly. How we help survivors. We believe that this presents us with an opportunity to move forward. On a foundation of trust and mutual accountability. The emotions that we are all feeling in the wake of this article are an important part of the process. But as a community. We have the opportunity to create a safer and more caring home away from home for all students. As the University of Virginia has led the way in higher education since its founding we must also lead the way in bringing an end to these crimes. We ask that you stand with us in a redoubled efforts to build a better university. We also wish to thank the community for their continued support in our mission thus Iran. Throughout all this my biggest fear is that when the media leads you via. And the intensity dies down. That the momentum will die with it. We as a community must continue to address this issue through our behavior inter attitudes. We must stand together. Today tomorrow. And forever. And say no more to sexual assault. Slowed a limited amount time. Here for questions. Open the floor. Hope. It is sort of behavior to go on according to these survivors for years and years here UV let it we've got folks here that are. Burke in this every day. Progression. I think you end here. Oh yeah. Adding a response to your question. The culture. Shear is not it's not just the UB eight issue this is a pervasive national epidemic. That we are hoping to continue to fight. Here you BA the place that we call home and spread this message nationally this is. A university issue this is a national issue this is a global issue and we're doing what we can in our corner of the world health. Specifically I think it's difficult just speak for the student body a large. But what I will say is that we all have room for improvement in creating a safer community for survivors and becoming better act of bystanders. Yeah university ministry help from the courtroom. While we're speaking Moore at it from an advocacy standpoint. Our hope is that the university will create a policy that is the strongest support system possible for also matters. I don't feel equipped to answer that now. Do. One of the most frightening numbers that we learn from her usual stone article of this inside. 98 a 183. Students have been expelled from UVA for cheating or lie but zero. As an itself. For sexual assault is that satisfactory. We'll look at Redding that stat is a complicated. The psychology the process of the ways sexual salts are adjudicated or brought a reported. Is is for small one that I'm out of a deficit that's it's these guys been much more time unit. One. That matter is the reason that we're here is we think we can do better in this room. And in I think we can we can get to a better statements. Prize but this is. She's we'll solve be an offense that comes with the full. Reasonable notice the development courses. We're conforming use. So big that that question is what drives home that sort of to what it would lead the institutional shortfalls I think it's not simply an institutional problem. I think that there are a lot of cultural problems as well. In that survivors don't feel comfortable enough reporting are comfortable not coming forward. And when they do date they don't feel comfortable enough sort of pressing charges are going to the criminal justice and there are a lot of institutional problems as well lot of cultural problems that go along with both of those. You got about a few DA specifically. Does something need to change the terms of the system that exists here for adjudicating those individuals who are accused. Sexual assault yes. I missed two that did I do not have an answer but I think that. Through continual. Dialogue about this and through continued attention to this the more people that we have looking at this problem. The better and the more likely we are. To find a substitute solution so I think that sort of this attention. As well as everybody speaking about this and everyday conversation has a fantastic first step and one that will drive this is too shall change. We're programs com news here will support. Reverberated. To police any credible claims of sexual songs. What I think we're here not to prescribe solutions problem we hear talk about the fact we've got to get together to get without its maybe that's what. I don't think continue to vote of this panel appears to tell us was actually an assault it. Like us that it's not about to the policy word we're trying to get nasty right now stuffy you know how we figure out what that policy is actually fixes it. And if that'd solve the problem they are it would but Emilia figure out what the changes are we can make it will actually solve problems. Nuts are to. For. The law. Well you know I think this goes back to our our victim and survivor psychology here might think you've heard Brian talk about you've heard those talk about it. The problem is the challenge and psychology of people feel comfortable doing that the TV got the I'll be fixed that problem. Ford talk Machida policy around and I semi how many prescriptions yup. What you think you know all over the past several days campus whether. People have come up to view whether more people have comport with their story. Maybe every line. He words. He had reason. One or none those positive things over the past couple of days has been Indian mounds. People coming forward with their stories and net and what we're working towards is creating a safer environments for their survivors once they come forward. To know that they have a very strong survivors support community. With then UBA ands. That is stay very positive thing that's come. And a path past couple days. Yes and I think. One of the most important things and when most positive things that that all of us have really seen. Is the amount of people that have reached out to us me out C community who have not been involved before. And it said what can I do. How can I help people who want to know how they can help in their daily lives and through other see an activist activism outlets. How they can really get involved in this issue so so that's when some it's been very encouraging. There back he'd seen slowing down campus and he hearings and those online thing. This is her we don't believe this story what is their reaction then. Opportunities are people angry about it and people believe it when Christina did. Absolutely. I first inform as Iowa is inspired and really in power buy. The fraternity community and my personal response to just the admiration that was shown to the survivors you. Came forward with such a difficult story. And to share it and such a public manner as to put this issue. Into the spotlight. You know one of the things that that we talked about district by because we've met quite frequently over the last year since we. Ascendant. Since beam. First were put into leadership and our organization's. One of the things that we talked about is that. A lot of the students are really doing. Great work behind this and care deeply across organizations behind us one of the issues that we've had is galvanizing. Individual change so we want to collective community change and how we get that is by. Empowering every individual. To get behind this issue and think about how they themselves. Can it. Like actually was saying. Foster better environments for survivors. The promoters of bystander intervention to two. Prevent the sexual violence from occurring. Shop can you know see them. You know if this letter is not an excuse being Canadian citizenship and believe right away. He talks went or how the colts are active track got the appointment is a possibility that something. They won't believe could actually happen when his party's house. But I think that you know when I first. Read rolling sound when I first heard about the article. It made me angry more than anything and me in many sad that this could happen. And a community that we all value soon so highly it was it was disorienting. But I think fit. What were trying to do is harness this energy harnesses. This shocked in this frustration. It's a positive movement going forward developing more sustainable and long term actions and I think for I am. Said it really really well in his statement. In this story you will fade from new cycle in one or two days that this story will not save this energy. Will not and cannot fade from UBA from the students from the administration moving forward I think it's imperative that we harness it. And make positive sets to eliminating the problem of rape in our university community the. Earth for replay at only half of any organized the holidays but you can study are not here. Sufficient. What I think it's important soon. Understand that the temporary ban in itself. Gives us time to develop gives our our community time to take a breath. To sit back to talk and to be active and develop. No reconsider to be it actionable. And long term solutions the suspension in itself gives us the time to develop decisions it. Is not the solution. And you know. Sexual violence. Is a very serious issue. In the Greek system but it's him it's a very serious issue. And it's much larger and much more complicated than the Greek system itself it requires deeper attitudinal shifts on an individual level. From men. In them for turning to me and outside the community from administrators and from how we deal wit and from just the general community level of awareness and interest. It in this issue. Because they act right. If anything. For attorneys recognize that. This temporary suspension again gives our community a time to think critically and to think critically. About where we've been and where we need to begin working toward more solutions the one thing I think that if anyone is worrying about is that the suspension. Mites while giving us time to develop new solutions. Localize the issue too much and ignore other sources. The issue I think that you. Like we said sexual violence. Is a much bigger issue. And anything that me individually from salt it's much. Bigger and more complicated issue than anything once and policy organization can involved it's gonna take a lot more than that. Yours are listening to student leaders at the University of Virginia holding a press conference and speaking out fall the Wayne. A skating Rolling Stone article describing alleged rape on campus. At fraternity act during fraternity activities the student council calling those alleged cases of sexual violence unacceptable. And vowing to be part of the change they say is needed. And this of course follows you VA president's statement over the weekend calling those alleged cases that you BA appalling. And also calling for change and review and investigations into the alleged allegations are ongoing. And we want to now bring in criminal defense attorney Danny salvos to weigh in on this case. And this latest news that you BA thanks for joining us dias guys thank you. Danny those detailed allegations and is Rolling Stone article prompting this press conference. And also a promise by UBA's presidents to review its policy on sexual assaults but is this all too late. For the campus and for the victims. Well to look at this issue are yet to take a step back and ask you as people ask the question why aren't universities would you be doing more to investigate. When you take a step back universities were never originally designed to investigate. Student on student sex assault allegations that is a creation of title nine and more recently the office of civil rights. Has directed it tight net university's. Police sexual assaults on campus. And the result has been. Quite a bit of investigations. And incentives. Economic incentives. Up on threat of losing money losing federal funding. Of finding students of believing the allegations of accusers and finding students guilty so just to take a devil's advocate view of the you've recent history of university investigation of sexual assault cases it's a relatively new creation. And it doesn't offer any of the due process rights or any of the the protections of the rules of evidence. Or even the beyond a reasonable doubt standard so a lot of people are saying why the university's done more but I think the facts will show that over the last two decades. Universities have taken a birdie aggressive role in policing sexual assault. On campus because they've had a Burry real incentive and that's economic sanctions from the office of civil rights and the federal government so. They are taken an aggressive stance why are cases like this these alleged cases such a surprise to them because it shows what we've always known about sexual assault cases whether all campuses in fraternities or on the street. That they are exceedingly difficult to prosecute they involve incredibly sensitive matter and it's always very difficult. For a complainant or victim to come forward and make these allegations. That's the way it is on campuses but that's also the way it's been. For hundreds and hundreds of years so why are universities nationwide and specifically you VA doing to. Make quote a safer community for people to come forward or for when people do speak out what university Thursday universities and set up these tribunals which vary from school to school. And what they do is they will have for example a student body panel that hears the evidence with no rules of evidence and know beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And will adjudicate a student guilty or not guilty and that separate and independent. Of any civil and criminal action so it could be said that university students or would be attackers. Face an additional level of scrutiny and additional. Was I judicial system. That they have to answer to so while many can criticized universities for not doing enough. A devil's advocate approach might be that rapes and sexual assaults have always been difficult to investigate. And you may argue that university students are subjected to an additional layer of scrutiny. And many every year many many students are disciplined and found guilty. Four sexual assault on campus by the university and not necessarily by a criminal or civil justice system. They said institutionally the changes are needed and they also said culturally which we also see outside of campus but what can some of these fraternity. Organizations due to put their own policies in place and also to change that culture which is eight. A party culture in college well I. I've been saying it for years. The creature that is historically the university fraternity and sorority their dates may be numbered because from a civil liability standpoint and a criminal liability standpoint. They may just be too risky after all the business model and remember fraternities and sororities are among B. Did biggest housing provider at universities. In the country. So you have this system that is wrong by the students largely supervised by students. And as you can imagine. Like you said parties go on their a lot of you know. Noble causes her. Our achieve their but at the same time there's a lot of partying there's lot of things that go on. That cannot be watched and as a result. Many have said that they are a risk nightmare in other words they may not be long for this world simply because the liability is just too great. So give me an idea with this damaging article on these allegations against UBA where does this investigation go now. Well assuming this statute to limitations are still applicable a criminal investigation be initiated but. A assuming that the student there are the students are still at the UVA. Us separate university action can be instituted. Against these students and they can be held to to a separate tribunal in other words they can be prosecuted in Troy University. And prosecuted by by of the criminal justice system. All right Dan ace of Alice thank you very much for joining us and giving us some perspective thank you. And of course you can keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news app and starring the story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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