On November 19, 2014, Rolling Stone published a feature titled “A Rape on Campus,” set at the University of Virginia. The administration had heard about the article, which would discuss surviving sexual assault, and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity had some indication that it would mention events at their UVa chapter. The campus, however, was unprepared to hear the story.
The article featured the story of “Jackie,” who told Rolling Stone she was a first-year when she was gang-raped by seven men at the Phi Kappa Psi house. The account, by all standards, was vivid and ghastly, and the article faulted not just the fraternity, but the Greek system, the administration, and the campus culture as a whole. Shocked and unmoored by the report, the UVa community looked to University President Teresa Sullivan to respond.
This case chronicles the turn of events in the aftermath of the Rolling Stone report, through the lens of President Sullivan’s leadership and decision-making. Part A sets the tone, describing the climate of sexual assault prevention at UVa, the allegations of the Rolling Stone article, and the initial response on campus. Part B reveals a shift in the allegations that required President Sullivan to react. Part C is an epilogue detailing the administration’s response, the impact on Greek life at UVa, investigation results, and first-hand reflections from President Sullivan on leadership in controversy. Participants will evaluate President Sullivan’s response and weigh options for navigating controversial and sensitive matters.
- Discuss a leader’s options when navigating highly controversial and sensitive matters.
- Understand the points of view of various stakeholder groups, and discuss how best to encourage fairness for both the complainant and the accused.
- Understand how to turn controversy into opportunity.
Sexual assault survivors, sexual misconduct, leadership, crisis management, change management, gang rape, Title IX, journalistic integrity, fraternity culture, Greek life, institutional culture, criminal investigation
Geographic: Charlottesville, Virginia
Industry: Higher Education
Event Start Date: 2014
To obtain accessible versions of our products for use by those with disabilities, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at email@example.com or +1-617-496-1316.
Note: It can take up to three business days after you create an account to verify educator access. Verification will be confirmed via email.
Please note that each purchase of this product entitles the purchaser to one download and use. If you need multiple copies, please purchase the number of copies you need. For more information, see Copying Your Case Study.