We applaud the willingness of our State Senator Richard Saslaw to throw caution to the wind and exclaim in detail to the Falls Church City Council last week the ugly content of an article in the December 4 edition of Rolling Stone magazine on the endemic practice of rape and cover up at the University of Virginia.
He combined that with his vow that he’ll introduce a bill in the state legislature making it a crime for any university official to fail to report a sexual assault to local police within 24 hours after learning of it. That’s because the practice of rape by students at UVA is a frightfully long, pervasive institution perpetuated by the systematic coverup by university officials.
We are happy also to learn that State Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Springfield) has submitted HB 1343, a comparable bill that requires campus and local police to report all such assaults to the Commonwealth Attorney within 48 hours of a report. And while officials at UVA have also been swift to offer a set of guidelines to prevent future abuses, of all people they should be ignored as they’ll only be trying to maintain control of a situation that Sen. Saslaw wants to take entirely out of their hands.
The Rolling Stone article by contributing editor Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “A Rape on Campus,” is very graphic and extremely troubling. What readers who are not from Virginia may not appreciate is how highly the reputation of UVA is held in this state. Even at Falls Church’s local high school, we’ve been told that counselors have considered getting a star student into UVA as every bit as valuable as getting into an Ivy League school. When parents have complained that students are not being directed to the Ivy League, that’s what they’ve been told.
UVA is the most prestigious university in the state and for that reason held in veritable contempt by many for its snobbishness and aura of superiority.
In this context, to read the Rolling Stone account of what happened to an enthusiastic freshman from rural Virginia just four weeks into her first year is to encounter a profoundly severe violation of trust – against all Virginians, against all pro-education advocates, against the very legacy of Thomas Jefferson’s university, much less the intelligent women who enrolled there and who suffered from the abuse – by any and all who’ve allowed the perpetuation of this evil.
Few outsiders know the meaning of the university nickname, “Wahoos,” for example, but it refers to a fish that can drink twice its own body weight. It reveals the baked-in institutional nature of this contemptible place.
It took enormous courage for the student rape victim against incredible pressure to hush her up. Now, taking action against this form of gross inhumanity cannot be allowed to diminish.
Without very serious reforms, the school should be boycotted and run out of business, plain and simple.