UVa Dean Bashes Rolling Stone Article in Open Letter - Higher Education
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UVa Dean Bashes Rolling Stone Article in Open Letter

by Alan Suderman, Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. ― An associate dean of students at the University of Virginia said Wednesday a widely discredited Rolling Stone article caused her professional and personal harm by portraying her as insensitive and unresponsive to an alleged victim of a gang rape.

Nicole P. Eramo said in an open letter Wednesday to the magazine’s publisher, Jann S. Wenner, that the magazine has not done enough to make amends.

“Rolling Stone has deeply damaged me both personally and professionally,” Eramo wrote. “Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life’s work.”

The magazine retracted an article about sexual violence at U.Va. after the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism issued a scathing report this month concluding Rolling Stone had failed to meet journalistic standards. The magazine pledged to review its practices and removed “A Rape on Campus” from its website. Wenner said he won’t fire anyone.

The Charlottesville police department has said it had found no evidence to back the claims of the victim identified in the story only as “Jackie,” who said she was raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house.

Eramo said the article falsely said she tried to discourage Jackie from reporting or discussing the alleged assault. Eramo said she in fact “arranged for Jackie to meet with detectives almost immediately after she provided information” about being victimized at the fraternity house.

The fallout from the article’s false portrayal has included emails “expressing that hope that I be killed or raped, and commenting on that they hoped that I had a daughter so that she could be raped,” she wrote.

Eramo said the article has also hurt her ability to work with students and victims with whom she’d developed relationships.

A spokeswoman for Rolling Stone said Wednesday: “We sincerely regret any pain we caused Dean Nicole Eramo and others affected by this story.”

The article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, has previously apologized, saying she would not repeat the same mistakes.

Eramo has hired a law firm that specializes in defamation cases, but has not said what her legal plans are.

Phi Kappa Psi announced after the Columbia report came out that it will “pursue all available legal action” against Rolling Stone. To date, no lawsuit has been filed.

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