Hofstra students who punched on their cell phones to read their text messages last night reacted with shock after reading university officials' alert saying the reported gang rape of a Hofstra student -- a report that put the campus on edge this week -- wasn't a rape at all.
"They had us scared to death on campus and now we find this out," said Tiffany Grimes, 20, a junior studying education. "Somebody is not telling the truth."
The message, from Vice President for University Relations Melissa Connolly, said: "We have been notified by the Nassau County District Attorney's Office that the young woman involved in the alleged rape incident has recanted her claims against the five young men."
It continued: "This week has been a very difficult one for our entire community, and we will need time to heal and understand the events of the last few days. As additional information becomes available we will post it on the University home page."
Some of the students interviewed on campus last night empathized with the young men, four of whom were charged with tying up the 18-year-old woman in a college dormitory stall Sunday and brutally gang-raping her. The four were hauled into jail, their pictures posted on Web sites and in newspapers.
Those men, one of whom is a Hofstra student, were freed last night from the Nassau County jail after the woman recanted her accusation under questioning by prosecutors.
"The young man's life is still going to be ruined," said Chris Blue, 18, a freshman. "The girl lied about a serious thing."
First-year student Monique Alvarado had choice words for the accuser, whom prosecutors have not yet decided to charge with a crime.
The woman has not been identified.
"Now we hear it's not real," said Alvarado, a voice-performance major. "She is causing herself embarrassment because it's her first year here. She says all this and it's not true."
Newsday columnist Joye Brown contributed to this story.