Classes at the University of Virginia begin today, but orientation weekend was overshadowed by a report of sexual assault. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, a female student was approached from behind around 1 a.m. Saturday morning and threatened at knifepoint — the suspect then pulled her off the sidewalk and assaulted her.
But although the assault occurred Saturday morning, many new students weren't notified until Sunday due to a glitch in the university's email system. Teresa Sullivan, the university president, didn't mention the assault during her Saturday-afternoon welcome address, but she did bring it up during the opening convocation Sunday afternoon, saying there was "no place" for "violence of any kind" at the school. "We condemn it and we will not tolerate it," she said.
Police describe the suspect as a "white male between 20 and 30" of "average height" with "light-colored hair." They added that they haven't made an arrest in the case.
Sexual assault on campus is always horrifying, but it's an especially touchy subject at UVA; the university is still fighting a legal battle against Rolling Stone based on a student's story of sexual assault that the magazine ultimately retracted. So far, police have found no evidence to support the account, and although the victim testified in the lawsuit, transcripts of her testimony remain sealed.
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UVA rape allegations
UVA rape allegations
Images captured by WTVR show the vandalized Phi Kappa Psi house in the wake of a bombshell Rolling Stone report including claims men in the fraternity sexually assaulted a student.
Students Exercising on Campus by Fraternity Houses at University of Virginia in Charlottesville USA. Phi Kappa Psi, the University of Virginia fraternity where a student interviewed by Rolling Stone claims she was raped by seven men, can be seen on the left.
Students at the University of Virginia in University of Virginia socialize in afternoon sun outside a fraternity house on campus
University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan (center) smiles for a picture with graduating students Brittany Smith (left) and Elizabeth Grizzle after the Valedictory Exercises at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va. on May 18, 2013.
A view of the Rotunda one of the best known structures on the campus of the University of Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA-JUNE 24, 2012-CAPTION: Over 1,500 students, professors and local citizens turned out forÃ'Rally for Honor' on theÃLawn on the campus of the University of Virginia, two days before the school's board reconsiders its decision. During the two-hour rally, faculty membersÃcalled for the UVA Board of Visitors to reinstateÃousted president Teresa Sullivan.ÃOn Friday Gov. Bob McDonnell threatened to replace the entire board if it fails to resolve the matter. (Photo by Jay Paul for The Washington Post via Getty Images)