“The report by Columbia University’s School of Journalism demonstrates the reckless nature in which Rolling Stone researched and failed to verify facts in its article that erroneously accused Phi Kappa Psi of crimes its members did not commit,” Stephen Scipione, the president of the school's chapter of the national fraternity, said in a statement released today.
The student’s story was a key part of a large narrative article that was published by the magazine in November. The magazine has now retracted the article and apologized.
In the original article, the student, called "Jackie," said that she had been the victim of a gang rape at Phi Kappa Psi but, after publication, it became clear that the young man she said was her attacker was neither a member of the fraternity as she had originally claimed nor was there a party at the frat on the night in question.
“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,” Scipione said in the fraternity’s statement.
When reached by ABC News, Jackie's lawyer had no comment about the Columbia report.
The report on the article was handled by Steve Coll, dean of Columbia’s journalism school, and Sheila Coronel, the school’s dean of academic affairs, and Derek Kravitz, a postgraduate research scholar at Columbia University. Coronel and Coll held a press conference this afternoon discussing their findings, though they would not speak to whether or not they agreed with Rolling Stone’s decision not to fire the reporter of the story, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, or her editors, saying that they did not think that she intentionally misled her audience.
“Absent that kind of dishonesty, it didn’t seem appropriate for us to judge individuals that we had only met,” Coll said today.
Coll repeatedly reiterated the fact that the team of Columbia reviewers does not think that Jackie should be blamed.
“This failure was not the subject or the sources fault... it was the product of failed methodology,” he said.
Coll's comments came after Rolling Stone's publisher Jann Wenner told The New York Times that while he said he was not blaming Jackie, "obviously, there is something here that is untruthful, and something sits at her doorstep."