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He Said It Was Consensual. She Was Blacked Out. U-Va. Had to Decide: Was It Assault?

For both students, the night of Aug. 22, 2015, had not gone as planned. And their brief alcohol-drenched, party-fueled interaction — not unlike so many others on the nation’s college campuses — would derail both of their lives for much of an academic year and probably beyond. To him, in that moment, it was a thrilling hookup at a party. To her — as she now sees it — it was a terrifying assault. To U-Va., it was another drunken mess with no good answers.

The case is emblematic of the widespread frustrations faced by students, parents and administrators as they confront a problem that has existed for decades: the caustic combination of alcohol, drugs and sex, at times exacerbated by assault and predation. It also highlights the problems the Charlottesville flagship has had with alcohol and partying.