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$7.5M Lawsuit Over Fabricated UVA Rape Story

Rolling Stone Magazine and Sabrina Erdely Sued by Defamed UVA Administrator

Jan 12, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Rolling Stone author Sabrina Rubin Erdely did not sufficiently research and verify a student's account of gang rape and neither did anybody else at the nationwide publication with a readership of nearly 1.5 million. It has since been discovered that the young women's story was entirely fabricated and that she has a reputation as a "serial liar."

After clicking early on in college and sharing a passion for the same rock bands, two UVA students began a friendship that would soon turn rotten. Little did Ryan Duffin know, "Jackie" would soon entangle him, several of his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers, and UVA administrators in a gang rape allegation that would be reported by Rolling Stone Magazine, becoming the center of national controversy.

From the beginning, Duffin did not want to pursue anything beyond friendship with "Jackie." However, the woman who was identified only as "Jackie" in the magazine article wanted more. It was then that Jackie created a fictitious character, "Haven Monahan," whom she alleged she knew from chemistry class. New court documents report that Monahan was created by Jackie to "catfish" Duffin into her desired romantic relationship. Through texts, Jackie, posing as Monahan told Duffin how she felt about him.

In late September of 2012, Jackie told Duffin that her date with Monahan took a turn for the worse after he and several other rushing fraternity brothers had gang raped her. Duffin and a group of friends rushed to a hysterical and traumatized Jackie to comfort her. Jackie did not appear to be injured at all and her dress was not mangled or torn. She also refused to report the alleged incident to the police or even go to the hospital for medical attention. Two days after the incident, Jackie told Duffin she forgave Monahan, which left Duffin to seriously doubt Monahan's existence, as he claimed in an interview with The Washington Post: "I was wondering how I didn't see through it way earlier."

The story did not appear until two years later, in July of 2015, when Erdely contacted Emily Renda, a rape survivor and U-VA staff member working with sexual assault victims. Erdely, who was searching for a singular college rape case to report on the "pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture" on college campuses was directed to what Renda called the "darker side" of the issue in fraternities. Erdely contacted "Jackie," who then recounted her gang rape experience. While at a fraternity campus party, "Jackie" claimed, she was lured to an upstairs bedroom around 12:52 am, where she was ambushed and gang raped. Ederly's 9,000-word story was published in Rolling Stone in November 2014. It was titled "A Rape on Campus."

Significant scrutiny and reports of multiple discrepancies resulted in an audit of the editorial processes leading up to the story's publication. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism discredited the Rolling Stone article for a variety of reasons stating that the "assault could not have taken place the way it was described." For instance, the fraternity issued a statement that it did not host "a function or social event" that weekend, as was claimed by the alleged victim. The Washington Post also uncovered information in December 2014; reports that Jackie's friends claimed the "details of the attack have changed over time and that they have not been able to verify key points." The New York Times reported that police had "exhausted all investigative leads" to find "no substantive basis" for the Rolling Stone's article. The article was retracted and the magazine's managing editor and article's author both apologized. Ederly later acknowledged that she "did not go far enough to verify her story.”

As a result of the fabricated story and the damage done to UVA Associate Dean, Nicole Eramo's reputation and filed a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Erdely for failing to perform the basic tenants of journalism. As a top administrator, Eramo stated she was cast a "chief villain" in the discredited piece. Lawyers are now asking for the alleged victim to produce text message and "other communications in the case" since it would expose her to be a "serial liar." Duffin stated that, "had any of us been contacted it never would have blown up like this," referring to the Rolling Stone magazine.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (20)

Missouri Chancellor’s Ouster Plotted by Deans?

Student Protests May Not Have Caused Mizzou Resignation After All

Dec 29, 2015

by Kevin Ladd

Were student protests really even behind the ouster or was Mr Loftin's resignation a product of a coup orchestrated by nine deans who wanted him gone? According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the deans involved had been having second thoughts about the appointment since Mr. Loftin arrived and his ouster was due to myriad occasions wherein he would refer to them as "essential middle management" and allude to his power to "fire" them.

Thomas L. Payne, who is vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, expressed feelings that Mr. Loftin often used inappropriate methods and measures. Mr Payne reportedly recalled saying to Loftin, "I feel I must tell you that I don't think your leadership of this university is appropriate. I don't think your approach, in many cases of fear and intimidation, is the way we operate in the Midwest or anywhere. I think you should resign."

Mr. Loftin was deemed "irrevocably broken" after a dean had been forced out in December. Dean Patrick Delafontaine had served at the School of Medicine for less than a year and though the chancellor claimed Delafontaine left at his own will, the dean's colleagues didn't quite buy that. Delafontaine was known for doing a "good job" at the school and "to see his efforts dismissed and undermined...let [the deans] to conclude that [their] relationship with the chancellor was irrevocable broken."

Meanwhile, as all of this was brewing and perhaps even conveniently for the deans, student relations began to be a major issue at the school, coming to a boiling point in October and continuing to escalate, culminating in a hunger strike and members of the football team threatening to boycott all athletics unless the president stepped down. Though Loftin had befriended the student protestors by bringing them food to their demonstrations and "holding court" on the quad, his resignation had already been underway at that point.

While certainly the school must have been concerned about all of the issues students raised, it certainly does appear there was much more happening below the surface of the widely reported scandal. Do you think Mr. Loftin would have been forced out had the students not spoken up and demanded action? Leave us your insightful comments in the box below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (6)

Missouri Chancellor’s Ouster Plotted by Deans?

Student Protests May Not Have Caused Mizzou Resignation After All

Dec 29, 2015

by Kevin Ladd

Were student protests really even behind the ouster or was Mr Loftin's resignation a product of a coup orchestrated by nine deans who wanted him gone? According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the deans involved had been having second thoughts about the appointment since Mr. Loftin arrived and his ouster was due to myriad occasions wherein he would refer to them as "essential middle management" and allude to his power to "fire" them.

Thomas L. Payne, who is vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, expressed feelings that Mr. Loftin often used inappropriate methods and measures. Mr Payne reportedly recalled saying to Loftin, "I feel I must tell you that I don't think your leadership of this university is appropriate. I don't think your approach, in many cases of fear and intimidation, is the way we operate in the Midwest or anywhere. I think you should resign."

Mr. Loftin was deemed "irrevocably broken" after a dean had been forced out in December. Dean Patrick Delafontaine had served at the School of Medicine for less than a year and though the chancellor claimed Delafontaine left at his own will, the dean's colleagues didn't quite buy that. Delafontaine was known for doing a "good job" at the school and "to see his efforts dismissed and undermined...let [the deans] to conclude that [their] relationship with the chancellor was irrevocable broken."

Meanwhile, as all of this was brewing and perhaps even conveniently for the deans, student relations began to be a major issue at the school, coming to a boiling point in October and continuing to escalate, culminating in a hunger strike and members of the football team threatening to boycott all athletics unless the president stepped down. Though Loftin had befriended the student protestors by bringing them food to their demonstrations and "holding court" on the quad, his resignation had already been underway at that point.

While certainly the school must have been concerned about all of the issues students raised, it certainly does appear there was much more happening below the surface of the widely reported scandal. Do you think Mr. Loftin would have been forced out had the students not spoken up and demanded action? Leave us your insightful comments in the box below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (6)

by Susan Dutca

While many people can recall their college days as being "the best days" of their lives, college is never stress-free. From completing last-minute papers, to studying for midterms and finals or dealing with a stressful breakup, students are expected to balance many social, academic and extracurricular responsibilities. For some, there are many positive lessons to be learned from the college experience, but the 2014 National Survey of College Counseling Centers reports a drastic increase in college students with severe psychological problems. Colleges now have trouble keeping up with the demand for mental health services. Up to 83 percent of colleges may deny treatment for students who possess problems beyond the capabilities of the staff. To tackle the issue, Drexel University has taken initiative in reaching out to struggling students by installing mental-health kiosks on campus.

Drexel University, the first U.S. college to install a "mental health kiosk," uses a high-tech, polarized device similar to a tablet computer and is stationed in the highly-populated Student Recreation Center. Using touch-screen technology, students, faculty/professional staff and even members of the general public are able to stop and "Get a Check-up from the Neck-up." The program goes through a series of questions that assesses individuals' state of mind and feelings, generates a "suggested result" and provides referral information based on the respondent's answers. It screens for six potential issues: depression, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, eating disorder, and anxiety. When it comes professional training, The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors reports that 58.5 percent of colleges offer insufficient formal or informal training. With this new technology, Drexel's Associate Dean in the Office of Counseling and Health hopes that high-risk students will be better assisted.

Funded by a $5,000 grant through the Thomas Scattergood Behavior Health Foundation in Philadelphia, the mental health kiosk is the second debuted in Philadelphia. Do you think this would be effective in tackling issues of increased mental health issues amongst college students? Also, do you have the requisite patience and empathy to help those suffering from mental or other disorders? If you have a passion for helping people, check out scholarships for Psychology or Social Work such as the Health Careers Scholarship and find free money to fund your college dreams.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (42)

by Susan Dutca

While many people can recall their college days as being "the best days" of their lives, college is never stress-free. From completing last-minute papers, to studying for midterms and finals or dealing with a stressful breakup, students are expected to balance many social, academic and extracurricular responsibilities. For some, there are many positive lessons to be learned from the college experience, but the 2014 National Survey of College Counseling Centers reports a drastic increase in college students with severe psychological problems. Colleges now have trouble keeping up with the demand for mental health services. Up to 83 percent of colleges may deny treatment for students who possess problems beyond the capabilities of the staff. To tackle the issue, Drexel University has taken initiative in reaching out to struggling students by installing mental-health kiosks on campus.

Drexel University, the first U.S. college to install a "mental health kiosk," uses a high-tech, polarized device similar to a tablet computer and is stationed in the highly-populated Student Recreation Center. Using touch-screen technology, students, faculty/professional staff and even members of the general public are able to stop and "Get a Check-up from the Neck-up." The program goes through a series of questions that assesses individuals' state of mind and feelings, generates a "suggested result" and provides referral information based on the respondent's answers. It screens for six potential issues: depression, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, eating disorder, and anxiety. When it comes professional training, The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors reports that 58.5 percent of colleges offer insufficient formal or informal training. With this new technology, Drexel's Associate Dean in the Office of Counseling and Health hopes that high-risk students will be better assisted.

Funded by a $5,000 grant through the Thomas Scattergood Behavior Health Foundation in Philadelphia, the mental health kiosk is the second debuted in Philadelphia. Do you think this would be effective in tackling issues of increased mental health issues amongst college students? Also, do you have the requisite patience and empathy to help those suffering from mental or other disorders? If you have a passion for helping people, check out scholarships for Psychology or Social Work such as the Health Careers Scholarship and find free money to fund your college dreams.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (42)

by Christina Zhou

College can be a stressful time, suddenly full of both student and adult responsibilities. However, for some students, it can become more than just stress - potentially a larger issue like depression. If students cannot or will not seek help, the consequences can be severe. Therefore, students need to prioritize their happiness in college, since mental health is just as important as physical health.

The following tips are some ways to keep you from going down that dangerous road:

  • Take classes that truly interest you. It can be difficult to avoid the parental voice in your head telling you that your chosen major won't land you a high-paying job. However, in the long run, you will feel better if you study and write papers for classes you actually enjoy.
  • Exercise. Seriously. Homework is important but it can still be done in an hour after you go to the gym and boost your physical and mental health. Many colleges offer free classes that require very little commitment, such as yoga or spinning.
  • Ask for help. Colleges almost always have a counselor program of some sort. If you are feeling down, don't hesitate to talk to them.
  • Take a break. Watch that TV episode you haven't gotten around to yet. Splurge on a nice meal from that nearby restaurant. College may be fast-paced, but that doesn't mean you shouldn’t slow down once in a while and work on self-care.
  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep has a multitude of negative effects, including health problems, lowered concentration, fatigue, and increased irritability. Not getting enough sleep also decreases your ability to fight stress. Try to avoid caffeine if possible, and don't push yourself too late into the night, otherwise that 8 AM chemistry lab will feel even worse.
  • And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (1)

by Susan Dutca

In the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting donations for their Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship. There is an identical scholarship being created for Ward, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011.

The two young journalists were shot and killed on-air early Wednesday morning as Flanagan recorded the shooting from a gunman POV and posted it to Twitter and Facebook before being chased by police on Interstate 66. Flanagan had crashed the vehicle and suffered from self-inflicted wounds. He later died at a nearby hospital. Flanagan had faxed a 23-page manifesto/suicide note to ABC News, detailing his plans to respond to the racism of the Charleston church shooting. He also cited his own grievances; he claims being attacked by black men and white females, being discriminated against for being a gay, black man, suffering racial and sexual harassment and being bullied at work. A former reporter at WDBJ7, it was reported that Flanagan posed a hostile threat and disturbance to co-workers. This according to internal memos from WDBJ7 news Chief Dan Dennison, who cited Flanagan's "aggressive" behavior towards colleagues. Consequently, Flanagan was fired and it was recommended he seek medical attention. In his manifesto, the gunman had referred to himself as a "human powder keg" that was "waiting to go BOOM!"

Following the tragedy, scholarships are being created to memorialize the two WDBJ7 journalists by their respective schools. Those who wish to inquire about and/or support these scholarships may do so by contacting the schools directly:

James Madison University
JMU Advancement Gifts and Records
ATTN: Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship
MSC 3603
Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College Foundation
645 Patriot Ave.
Martinsville, VA 24112

Hopefully, these scholarships will not only provide opportunity for future students of these institutions, but also preserve the memory of those who were so brutally and senselessly slain.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (14)

by Susan Dutca

Students are notorious for avoiding summer reading lists – whether they'd rather spend time outdoors or simply find the list dull, many walk into the first day of class without having read the book title. However, incoming freshmen at Duke University are boycotting and refusing to read Alison Bechdel's family tragicomic Fun Home - they claim that the "pornographic" graphic novel conflicts with their Christian morals.

Bechdel's memoir recounts her traumatic childhood with a closeted and occasionally-abusive father, as well as her own coming out of the closet experience. A strong portion of the novel has sexual themes and nudity, which allegedly discomforted some Duke freshmen. In particular, Brian Grasso had posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page that he refused to read the novel "because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality," and further added, "I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it." Grasso was not the only student disturbed by the novel – freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst added, "the nature of 'Fun Home' means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature." Other students objected claiming it allows "you to open your mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar."

Many liberal arts colleges and universities include the 2006 novel in their curriculum, as scholars and professors believe it 'is a unique and moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront." This was the educational goal for Duke University's Common Experience Summer Reading Program. Although Fun Home has won five Tony awards and was turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical, has sold over a quarter-million copies and was lauded by Time Magazine as the best book of 2006, college students are still encouraged to voice their own opinions. So are the students really overreacting when they refuse to read a book that goes against their beliefs? Or should all students be forced to read a book that, although may make them uncomfortable, can give insight to a different wave of thinking and life?

Do you have what it takes to write the next highly-controversial novel? If you have a passion for literature or creative writing, there are many scholarships out there that honor writing talent, so explore the scholarship options to see how you can fund your college education by conducting a quick and easy free scholarship search today.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (26)

by Susan Dutca

Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website, Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto, California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Khanna explored the Facebook Messenger issue, just as it had been by the CNET in 2012, so this was no new discovery. Rather, he claims his code was able to simply "read data that was already on your screen and display it on a map." Facebook officials claimed this violated user agreement by extracting data from the site. In reality, Khanna had used the data from his own personal messages, not data exclusive to employees. Facebook issued a statement shortly thereafter, addressing the Messenger app update. Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld claimed, "you have full control over when and how you share your location information." Furthermore, Facebook claims they had been working on the update “for a few months” before Khanna’s post and that “this isn't the sort of thing that can happen in a week.” Khanna never made it to his first day interning at Facebook and expressed his sentiments in his article for TIME Magazine and an academic paper in the Harvard Journal Technology Science. Khanna was offered and accepted another internship at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and claims he uses the entire event as a learning experience.

Do you have the same computer skills and passion for technology as Khanna? Want to be the next tech genius? Find how you can qualify for computer science scholarships and other technology-based awards if you have aspirations to land prestigious internships and admission to your dream college by conducting a free scholarship search today.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (5)

by Susan Dutca

Despite mass-campus shootings such as Virginia Tech that have the public questioning the safety of college campuses, the U.S. Department found that 93 percent of violence against students occurs off-campus. Currently, approximately 4,400 colleges and universities prohibit carrying firearms. However, states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin allow concealed guns at some level. Pro-gun movement is rapidly increasing, as evident with the push of the Senate Bill 68 and Florida House Bill 4001, which would permit loaded and concealed arms on campus at Florida State University. Republican Greg Steube and Florida State Senator Greg Evers believe the mere absence of prohibition would lessen gun violence. Additionaly, “a gun-free campus creates a sanctuary campus and safe haven for rapists and criminals,” Steube explained in an interview. Supporters of the legislation believe it upholds the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms, especially for protection purposes. So far the Florida League of Women Voters has opposed the bill and plans to do so again.

Not everyone feels so safe with the prospect of students being cocked and loaded. The majority of university presidents and campus law enforcement oppose the bill which would put the now-safe environments on high-alert. Anti-gun activists of the Florida League of Women Voters have been firm in their stand on gun control since 1990. Especially in college environments where there are drugs and alcohol present, guns further threaten the well-being of students and increase risk of injury or even, fatality. Other potential issues include: decrease in academic focus, accidental firings, dormitory theft, student suicide, distinguishing armed civilians from assailants, and so forth. If successfully passed, Florida will be the ninth state to implement such legislation, as early as fall of 2016.

Do you believe concealed guns should be permitted on college campuses? Would you feel safer knowing your peers are armed? Furthermore, if you have a passion for gun laws or criminal justice, as well as other fields of study, conduct a free scholarship search to see how your can fund your college education, today.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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