TIME Higher Education

Study of Canadian University Women Shows Training Program Reduced Risk of Rape

Women trained in self defense and risk assessment were less likely to be victims a year after

A training program designed to teach first-year college women how to resist sexual assault showed substantial reduction in risk of completed rape during their first year of school, a new study conducted at three Canadian universities showed.

For college women, the risk of sexual assault is highest during the first two years. The results of the study suggest that for every 22 women who are educated in the training program, one rape would be prevented in the year after the students participate.

The study, published by the New England Journal of Medicine, was a randomized controlled trial conducted at three Canadian universities. The researchers recruited first-year female students, aged 17-24, by emailing and calling women who were registered for psychology courses and posting flyers around campus.

Read More: This Is the New Frontier in the Fight Against Campus Rape

A randomly selected control group of 442 women were assigned to a session where they were given access to brochures on sexual assault, a standard university practice. The other 451 women were assigned to receive a training program that included four three-hour sessions, in small groups of 23 or less, teaching the women to “assess risk from acquaintances, overcome emotional barriers in acknowledging danger, and engage in effective verbal and physical self defense.”

The researchers followed up with the women after six months, then a year. At the one-year mark, the women who received the resistance training were less likely to have fallen victim to completed rape than the control group, with 5.2% self-reporting victimization vs. 9.8% in the control group. The risk reduction was even greater for attempted rape, with a ratio of 3.4% in the group who got the training, compared with 9.3% in the group who did not.

The study acknowledged some limitations. A disproportionate number of women with prior victimization participated in study, a group that is at higher risk for recurrence of sexual assault; and the study required self-reporting, which can introduce bias. The study’s authors also pointed out that more work needs to be done to identify effective interventions to change male behavior, and that universities might not have the resources to ensure full participation in such a comprehensive training program.

TIME States

This Is the New Frontier in the Fight Against Campus Rape

California could impose mandatory minimum punishments for colleges to level against perpetrators

A California bill would impose a mandatory minimum punishment of two years suspension for students found responsible for rape by colleges, signaling a new phase in the fight against campus sexual assault that even some reformers worry could go too far.

The legislation, part of a package of bills that would also change community college sexual assault policies and colleges’ reporting of rape data, passed overwhelmingly in the California Assembly on Wednesday. It next heads to the state Senate. If enacted, the bill would bring state law into the controversial and opaque inner workings of the college disciplinary boards that mete out punishment outside the criminal justice system.

California has been the most aggressive state when it comes to combating college sexual assault. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a a “yes means yes” law requiring college disciplinary boards to use an “affirmative consent standard”—defined as “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement” to engage in every level of sexual activity. But the new law would go further in dictating the actual punishments colleges hand down.

MORE The Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campuses

“I think when there is more accountability, there will be more thought by perpetrators about whether they are going to endanger their education by engaging in this brutal behavior,” said the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Das Williams, who hopes his legislation will inject accountability into college disciplinary boards that often act inconsistently and with little oversight.

Such boards and their standards vary across the country, but they are typically staffed by students or faculty members and are designed to decide guilt and assign punishments for students found responsible for violations as varied as academic cheating, drugs, and sexual violence. Those punishments can range from community service to expulsion. The boards operate independently from the criminal justice system and do not follow the same rules—most boards disallow students from using lawyers. When adjudicating sexual assault, the federal government has directed the boards to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard—a more than 50% chance that the perpetrator committed the crime—to determine guilt, which is a lower standard of evidence than required for a criminal conviction.

The role of college disciplinary boards has been at the center of the debate over how to handle the sexual assault problem. Because rape victims often don’t report the crime to police and because of low conviction rates, sexual assault survivor advocates have pushed for college disciplinary boards to take a stronger role to offer justice to victims where the criminal justice system has not. But stories of the boards letting men they have found responsible for rape get off with only minimal consequences have led to growing criticism.

“I’m not OK with there being no accountability for rape in this society,” Williams said. ” I would like to address it society-wide, but on campuses, we have a tool that could work better. My hope is that survivors and the people who are charged with their safety will avail themselves of those dismissal procedures. For most victims its their only chance at justice.”

Opponents of the bill see risk in imposing mandatory minimum punishments, especially by disciplinary bodies that do not operate like the criminal justice system. “Those committing sexual assault within our college campuses should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by our judicial system, not at a campus disciplinary proceeding,” said Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, one of the four lawmakers who voted against the bill. “College administrators should not be conducting criminal trials for serious crimes and our state legislature should not mandate punishments at these quasi- judicial hearings.”

A spokesperson for the University of California said it doesn’t have a formal position on the legislation.

Even among those who are in favor of stiff punishments from school disciplinary boards, some don’t believe it’s appropriate for the legislature to get involved.

“When states start telling schools what minimums and maximum punishments they can give for offenses, you start wondering where and when does that begin and end,” said W. Scott Lewis, a higher education legal consultant with The NCHERM Group, who specializes in sexual assault prevention on campus. Lewis also raised concerns about whether or not the state’s definition of “rape” would be consistent with the school’s conduct policies, a problem that could persist if other states try to adopt similar laws. The bill’s language requires the mandatory minimum punishment to kick in with “rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation, and rape by a foreign object.” But Lewis said some schools take a broader definition of what constitutes rape than the law might: “What do they mean by force? Does coercion count? Touching? Here you’ve got a state mandating a distinction for which can be broader term definition.”

Matt Kaiser, a Washington-based lawyer who often represents college students accused of sexual assault, agreed—especially in California, where the affirmative consent law ensnares a broader range of behavior. “Assault can mean touching somebody’s butt when making out and they didn’t want you too and didn’t say you could,” he said. “It’s squishy enough I don’t even know what the rules mean anymore.”

TIME Education

Campus Sexual Violence Complaints to Government Have Surged Since 2009

Senator Barbara Boxer speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on U.S. and Cuban relations in Washington on Feb\.3, 2015.
Samuel Corum—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images Senator Barbara Boxer speaks during a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on U.S. and Cuban relations in Washington on Feb.3, 2015.

Senators urge Congress to supply funds to help Department of Education's Civil Right Office deal with caseload

Complaints of sexual violence on college campuses to the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights have grown significantly in the past six years, according to newly released data.

The number of sexual violence complaints filed with the department grew from just 9 in 2009 to 102 in 2014, reflecting both a growth in awareness of sexual violence on college campuses and the lack of resources available to investigate colleges who mishandle the problem. The number looks set to grow even more this year, with 68 complaints filed so far in 2015.

The department reported the data in a letter to Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tim Kaine (D-VA), who had requested more transparency on the issue. The letter also requested additional funds from Congress to deal with the growing caseload. The average length of investigations into sexual violence complaints have increased from 379 days in 2009 to 1,469 days in 2014, largely due to the increased caseload. The average duration of investigations completed so far this year has been 940 days.

In statements responding to the letter, the Senators urged Congress to dedicate more funding to the department’s efforts. “This new data makes clear why the Education Department must step up its efforts to address the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses, and why Congress must ensure it has the resources it needs to protect students,” Senator Boxer said.

TIME Military

Army Launches Review Into Whether ROTC Cadets Were Forced to Wear Heels

For a sexual assault awareness event

The U.S. Army is investigating allegations that ROTC cadets on college campuses were told to wear high heels to an event marking Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

The review by the U.S Army Cadet Command comes after an anonymous poster on Reddit claimed that ROTC cadets at Arizona State University would have faced disciplinary action if they didn’t attend an event on Monday called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes,” during which students donned red high heels to “stomp out” sexual assault on campuses. The post quickly garnered attention online and pointed critics of the alleged policy to other ROTC campus units that held similar events.

In a statement shared with TIME, the U.S. Army Cadet Command said they did not direct the ROTC units on exactly how the cadets should participate in the sexual assault awareness events.

“After receiving some comments about uniforms, we are currently gathering facts in order to review how local ROTC units implemented their participation in these events designed to raise awareness on the issue of sexual assault,” the statement said.

A video posted by ASU’s student nhttps://vimeo.com/125515628ewspaper shows the event at the Phoenix university. Maj. Michelle Bravo, a military science professor at Arizona State, says in the video that the cadets “planned and decided” to host the walk, where they mostly wore khakis and polo shirts with their heels.

The Temple University ROTC hosted a similar event earlier this month, and cadets there wore their uniforms with heels as they walked.

The U.S. Army Cadet Command also noted units could have participated in other events including “JROTC/ROTC 5K Run/Walk,” which doesn’t explicitly mention wearing high heels.

TIME Books

Jon Krakauer Defends New Book on College Rape

The 'Into Thin Air' author's new book, 'Missoula,' has stirred the college town

In 2011, Gwen Florio, a dogged reporter for Missoula, Montana’s local paper, reported on a number of rapes involving University of Montana football players that had gone unpunished by school or local authorities. Her stories eventually led to a Justice Department investigation into the alleged mishandling of 80 reported rapes in Missoula over a period of three years; the investigation resulted in settlements between the federal government, local law enforcement and university officials. But the circumstances led Missoula — a laid-back, academic town of only 70,000 — to be referred to in the ensuing national press America’s “rape capital.”

Now synonymous with its recent legacy, “Missoula” has become the title for a new book by best-selling author Jon Krakauer. Krakauer said in an interview that his working title was What Happened in Missoula, but he ended up preferring the one-word title his publisher and editor gave the book because it was “non-sensational” and “almost academic.” What he means by “academic” is that the book, out this week, serves as a case study of the widespread problem of campus rape, and how they are handled.

Rankled by the bad publicity, many in the Missoula community have criticized the title of the book, subtitled Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, for unfairly singling out Missoula in what is a national issue. But Missoula works as a case study in large part because so many of the high-profile rapes there were reported to the police and the university, and litigated in court. Indeed, Krakauer said, he chose to write about Missoula in part because of the availability of official documents he could rely upon for his reporting. Time focused on Missoula to report our cover story (which I wrote) about campus rape for many of the same reasons. When there is a paper trail as clearcut as the one in Montana, it makes reporting about rape less susceptible to the kinds of issues that plagued the UVA story recently retracted by Rolling Stone. Here, Krakauer has uncovered many new documents — but documents nonetheless — himself for the book. Missoula even stands a corrective to the controversy surrounding the Rolling Stone story, which many critics said set back the clock decades on rape activism and advocacy.

Krakauer is clearly supportive of victims; his inspiration to write the book came out of a personal friendship he shared with a woman (not from Missoula) who was raped as a teenager. His vantage point offers a sharp argument against the inherent flaws in America’s adversarial criminal justice system in which, Krakauer writes, “Due process trumps honesty and ordinary justice.” For anyone distressed by the high rate of sexual assault afflicting young women, and who wants to understand some of the ways in which the justice system fails them — and shouldn’t that be all of us? — Krakauer’s book is worth reading.

“I am sorry everyone is bent out of shape. I understand why, but I don’t apologize for the title,” Krakauer said. He said that he was disturbed by the town’s focus on negative publicity instead of the rapes that happened there. “They are outraged that the city was besmirched by the book title, not by what is revealed in the book…. That doesn’t make me think well of Missoula. They are focused on the wrong thing here. They say it was not worse than any other town, but that’s not something to be proud of.”

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME campus sexual assault

‘Princeton Mom’ Is Now an Icon—and Fellow Alumni Aren’t Happy About It

Susan Patton Princeton Mom
Peter Kramer—NBC/Getty Images Susan Patton appears on NBC News' "Today" show.

Logan Sander is a student at Princeton University, where she freelances for local and national publications. She is from Toledo, Ohio.

Members of Princeton's Class of 1978 have written a collective letter distancing themselves from fellow alum Susan Patton

Susan Patton, better known as the “Princeton Mom” for her unpopular opinions on marriage and date rape, has outraged many. But now she has been publicly challenged by a few of her own—namely 123 of her fellow Princeton alumni.

Members of Princeton’s class of 1978, who graduated a year after Patton, have written a collective letter published in Monday’s edition of the Daily Princetonian in which they criticize Patton’s ideas and her use of the Princeton name—and its colors—as a brand for those ideas.

“The wider world continues to see this woman dressed in orange and black associating her out-of-touch personal beliefs with our alma mater. We—along with many other alumni—see these views as outrageous and unworthy of being associated with Princeton,” the letter says. “We ask the Princeton administration to continue its efforts to create a campus climate where all accusations of sexual assault are treated with the seriousness they deserve, and we invite those who share our views to raise their voices to join ours.”

MORE Princeton Mom is on the Prowl, and 6 Other Things We Learned About Susan Patton

Earlier this winter, CNN televised a controversial interview with Patton in which she criticized the broad definition of rape in today’s society. “It no longer is when a woman is violated at the point of a gun or a knife,” she said in the interview.

Patton argued that instances that are now called rape are actually “learning experiences.”

“We’re now talking about or identifying as rape what really is a clumsy hookup melodrama or a fumbled attempt at a kiss or a caress,” she said.

Members of Princeton’s class of 1978 quickly shared her interview with each other, beginning with a single post on the Princeton University Class of 1978 Facebook page. Julie List, one of the five main authors of the letter, posted the interview on January 30 and within minutes other alumni began to share their outrage.

There’s something especially irritating about her co-opting of the Princeton brand,” Amelia Silver, another co-writer, said in a Facebook comment.

MORE The Mother-In-Law From Hell Was on the Today Show

By the end of the day, the idea of writing a collective letter was widely agreed upon and the process began.

The five writers feel that Patton, who labeled herself “The Princeton Mom” on the cover of her 2013 book Marry Smart, has unfairly damaged the Princeton name—one they share in common with her—but they do not intend for the letter to be a direct criticism of Patton.

“We never mention her name in the letter,” List said. “It’s not a personal attack. It’s an attack on the views that are damaging and that she’s appropriated the Princeton name.”

Many of the alumni signatories have had college-aged children, just like Patton.

“We graduated 35 years ago. Many of us have raised children—I have two children that have gone to college. We have seen these issues affect their lives,” Silver, the Facebook commenter and co-author said. “We have some perspective from our own experiences as undergraduates and then we have the added perspectives of our children’s’ experiences.”

Because of that common experience, the group set out to challenge Patton’s representation of Princeton and notions regarding sexual assault, with alumnus David Abromowitz taking a lead role.

“I think what happens in the absence of anybody challenging the notion that those views are widely held by Princeton moms, dads, aunts and uncles, [is that] the one view out there that the public sees related to Princeton comes to symbolize what people think a lot of people believe,” said Abromowitz. “We challenge that commonly held view, especially being of the same age and era out of Princeton.”

Though much of the letter deals with Patton’s alleged misrepresentation of Princeton, it also attempts to bring the issue of campus sexual assault to national attention.

MORE Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Colleges Need to Stop Protecting Sexual Predators

“To fail to challenge such views damages decades of efforts to help women come forward after being sexually assaulted. It suggests to college women — indeed to all women — that it is really their fault that they were raped,” the alums letters says.

Ann Daniels, a co-author, said that she hopes the letter will create more discussion about college campus sexual assaults and rapes.

“This isn’t just Princeton. This is a nationwide issue, it’s a nationwide problem, it’s a nationwide conversation and we want to move the conversation forward,” Daniels said. “I think the more people that enter that conversation, the more we are going to be able to move forward to do exactly that—to treat rape seriously, to support the people who are victims of it.”

Most of all, Princeton Class of 1978 is attempting to set the record straight—this “Princeton Mom” represents no one but herself.

“We believe we speak for the great majority of Princeton moms and dads, as well as alumni who do not have children, in saying rape in general—and date rape in particular—is inexcusable,” the letter says.

Read next: Watch Beyoncé Explain the Hidden Meaning of Her Grammys Performance

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME universities

Dartmouth Bans Hard Alcohol on Campus For All

Dartmouth Advanced Placement
Jim Cole—AP Students walk across the Dartmouth College campus green in Hanover, N.H., on March 12, 2012. The school is banning hard alcohol on campus.

Fraternities need to reform or disband, says Dartmouth president

Dartmouth College plans to ban all hard alcohol on campus following a series of high-profile reports of sexual assaults at universities around the U.S.

Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon said on Thursday that all students, regardless of age, would be banned from consuming and possessing hard alcohol on campus, while warning the college’s fraternities that they would need to reform or disband.

(MORE: Dartmouth’s President on Sexual Assault Prevention and Bystander Intervention)

Several schools have taken similar steps to reform their alcohol policies since a Rolling Stone articlewas published about an alleged rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. While that story has since been discredited, Brown University announced this month that it would ban alcohol at its fraternities, Swarthmore College has banned hard alcohol from events on campus, and U-Va. has banned mixed drinks and punches at its fraternity parties.

(MORE: The Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campuses)

TIME Parenting

Why It’s So Hard to Talk to Our Daughters About Campus Rape

Susanna Schrobsdorff is an Assistant Managing Editor at TIME. Previously, she was the Editorial Director for Newsweek Digital. She is the winner of a New York Press Club award for Outstanding Web Coverage and three Front Page Awards for cultural commentary and interactive journalism.

We tell our girls that they can do anything boys can. But what if that's not exactly true?

I have two teenage daughters, which means I live in a household of head-snapping contradictions. Everything you’ve heard about adolescent girls is true, and not true. They are in equal parts infuriating and beguiling, full of arrogance and certainty one minute, crumpled by insecurity the next. And just when you think you’ve accidentally raised judgmental mean girls, they do something so kind, so empathetic (like help you change their demented grandfather’s sheets without a word of complaint), that the memory of it sustains you through a whole month of snark.

One day they go into their bedrooms all gangly and tweeny and come out looking like women. This is to be expected, yet we are not prepared for the way the world looks at them in the wake of that transformation. After one daughter’s middle-school graduation, she strode down the street in her new heels and with her new curves, plowing ahead of us without looking back. It was all I could do not to follow her waving my arms yelling, “I know she doesn’t look it, but she’s only 14!”

Now she’s 17 and applying to college. I have to let her disappear around that corner on her own. This is never easy for parents, but perhaps it’s even less so these days. She’s busy imagining who she’ll be when she’s living among her peers, on a campus somewhere that is not here. Meanwhile, I’m unable to stop reading the headlines about sexual assault and bungled rape investigations at some of the best universities in the country.

In late January, I couldn’t escape the accusations that a group of football players had raped an unconscious neuroscience major at Vanderbilt University. At a trial for two of them, the lawyer for one of the accused said his client’s judgment was distorted by a campus culture in which drunken sex was prevalent.

Just the fact that this case wasn’t swept under the rug is encouraging. New federal mandates that aim to reform the way universities handle sexual-assault cases represent huge progress. And sure, the stats on how pervasive the problem is are still being debated, but the awful stories keep coming. So while I might have worried more about pregnancy, now the specter of assault looms larger. How do I talk to my college-bound daughter about that?

The irony is that while we’ve always warned our little girls about strangers, the numbers say that if our college-age daughters are assaulted, it will likely be by someone they know. And like a lot of mothers, I’ve spent years telling my girls that they can do anything a boy can, that they can rely on their smarts above all and that they should never be ashamed of their bodies. But that’s not exactly true. No, girls can’t get drunk like guys can at a party, not without compromising their safety. And yes, girls are more vulnerable, physically and in other ways. Accusations of promiscuity can still damage a woman to an extent that many men can hardly fathom. Just ask that Vanderbilt student, now a Ph.D. candidate. Her alleged assailants took humiliating photos of her during the attack.

It’s not fair, but it’s reality. I realize that I need to have some version of the talk that so many African-American parents have with their sons about being careful of what they wear and how they behave so as not to put themselves in danger. To our girls we say, be brave, take risks. But internally we want them to do whatever it takes to stay safe. We say, be proud of your beauty. Yet we fear that showing it off will make them a target.

It’s a thicket of contradictions and hypocrisy–as my daughters are quick to inform me when I dare suggest maybe they put on a jacket over that strappy top. But I can’t help offering some advice as I watch one prepare to walk out the door:

Nourish your female friendships. You want women in your life who will have your back at parties and will speak up when you’re about to do something you shouldn’t. And you’ll have their back too. Being a part of this kind of posse is a lifelong gift.

When it comes to guys, look for kindness over cool. And trust your gut. If it feels wrong, leave. Say no. Say no. Say no.

I would defend your right to wear what you want and have just-for-fun sex if you want. But as your mother, I wish you so much more. I hope you take any chance you can to know someone truly and intimately. It is the best perk of being human.

If the inequities get you down, know that you are part of a revolutionary generation that is insisting on change. Just look at the women in a new documentary debuting at Sundance called The Hunting Ground. It’s the story of student assault survivors who cleverly used Title IX (the legislation forbidding gender discrimination) to force the Department of Education to investigate sexual-assault accusations at schools across the country. They transformed their vulnerability into something powerful.

And if you need me, I’m still here.


This appears in the February 09, 2015 issue of TIME.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME campus sexual assault

Columbia University Activist Emma Sulkowicz Is Going to the State of the Union

Campus sexual assault activist will leave her mattress at home

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who has been carrying her mattress around campus to raise awareness about sexual assault, will accompany Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

As a co-sponsor of the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, Gillibrand says she is pushing for Obama to address campus sexual assault in his speech, especially as he unveils his plan to make two years of community college free for all Americans. “I hope the President will seize this opportunity to shine a national spotlight on the need to flip the incentives that currently reward colleges for sweeping sexual assaults under the rug,” she told the New York Daily News.

Sulkowicz, 22, has been carrying her mattress around campus as part of her senior thesis about campus sexual assault. She says that after she was raped by a classmate in 2012, Columbia failed to punish her attacker. Although two other women also publicly accused the same man of assault, the university found him “not responsible.” Sulkowicz has been carrying her mattress everywhere she goes on campus to call attention to the issue, but she won’t be brining her mattress to the State of the Union.

“The Columbia administration is harboring serial rapists on campus,” Sulkowicz wrote in an op-ed for Time.com. (The university declined to comment in response to the article.) The accused student has also spoken out. He says his encounters with Sulkowicz and the other students were entirely consensual.

TIME Crime

Why UVA’s New Frat Rules May Not Make Much Difference

TIME.com stock photos Drinking Fraternity Frat Solo Cups
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Methods of enforcement remain few and far between

The University of Virginia has proposed new rules for its fraternity system after the uproar that broke out both on and off campus following a controversial magazine story late last year that depicted a brutal gang rape at a frat house.

The new rules include some strong reforms like the elimination of kegs and hard-alcohol punch. But the nature of the relationship between the university and the fraternities, many of which are privately owned, may make the rules hard to enforce.

The individual Greek organizations have until Friday to agree to the new rules. If they don’t, they risk losing formal affiliation with the university—the one bit of leverage UVA administrators have over the fraternities. Under the new rules, fraternities must furnish a minimum of three “sober brother monitors,” at parties, who must wait at each alcohol distribution point as well as the stairs leading to the residential bedrooms. Beer must be served unopened in the original can, pre-mixed punches would be prohibited, wine must be poured out of a bottle by a sober brother, and hard alcohol can only be served at large parties by a hired bartender licensed by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. A privately contracted security guard would also have to stand outside the front door and check names off a guest list.

MORE The Sexual Assault Crisis on American Campuses

The new rules come after UVA briefly suspended social activities at all fraternities on campus following the publication of an article in Rolling Stone that included a detailed account of a horrific rape that allegedly happened at a UVA fraternity. The story has since been found to have significant inconsistencies. After the Washington Post and other outlets identified problems with the story, Rolling Stone issued an apology and promised to investigate further. On Monday, UVA announced that it would reinstate the fraternity in the story, Phi Kappa Psi, after the Charlottesville Police failed to find any “substantive basis” to confirm the gruesome events described in the story.

Despite the inconsistencies in the article, UVA has decided to go ahead with fraternity reform. Though UVA President Teresa Sullivan was careful not to single out Greek organizations as the main culprits in the problem of sexual assault on campus during an interview with TIME last year, the rules do reflect a slightly softer version of the reforms she favored. “The days of the trash can full of punch have to be over,” she told TIME.

MORE UVA President: Eliminate All Booze Except Beer

Nonetheless, it appears that UVA may not be doing much to enforce the reforms—a reflection of the tricky nature of governing private organizations on campus. According to ABC News, UVA spokesman Anthony de Bruyn said the university would not provide staff to monitor the fraternities to because they are privately owned. “The University will work closely with Greek leadership to support them in seeking compliance with the new practices by their members,” de Bruyn told Time. “Should violations be brought to the University’s attention, as has been the case it the past, the Dean of Students Office will investigate, and any appropriate next steps would be based upon the details of each case.”

The lack of formal monitoring raises questions as to whether the reforms will have any teeth.

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