UVA Dean: Rolling Stone’s Retracted Rape Story ‘Damaged My Reputation’

A University of Virginia dean on Wednesday wrote an open letter that slammed Rolling Stone for damaging her reputation and falsely portraying her work in a now-retracted article about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity on campus.

The Washington Post obtained a letter that Associate Dean of Students Nicole Eramo, who heads up the school’s Sexual Misconduct Board, addressed to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. Eramo wrote that the magazine provided a “false and grossly misleading portrayal of the counseling and support that I provided to Jackie,” the subject of the article who alleged that she was horrifically gang-raped at a frat house party.

“Using me as the personification of a heartless administration, the Rolling Stone article attacked my life’s work,” Eramo wrote.

The letter marked Eramo’s first public comments since the magazine story, “A Rape On Campus,” was published in November. The magazine retracted it earlier this month after the Columbia Journalism School released a scathing external review that determined the magazine made fundamental errors in its reporting, editing and fact-checking processes.

Eramo described dealing with rape and death threats of her own after the article sparked a nationwide conversation about college administrators’ response to sexual assaults on campus.

“Inflamed by the false portrayal in the article, protesters showed up at my office, demanding I be fired,” she wrote. “Perhaps most egregious and shocking were the emails that I received expressing hope that I be killed or raped, and commenting that they hoped that I had a daughter so that she could be raped.”

Eramo also mentioned in the letter that she had met with Rolling Stone’s attorneys in February and felt that the magazine did not adequately address her and the university’s concerns. The Washington Post noted in its report that Eramo had retained legal counsel from a Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in defamation cases, which indicates that the magazine could potentially face a lawsuit down the road.

Rolling Stone did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.

Read the whole letter here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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