Education

UNC student files intimidation charge

Posted March 25, 2013

— The attorney for a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student who faces possible expulsion after saying publicly she's a rape victim says his client has filed a federal complaint against the school for retaliation.

Attorney Clay Turner says in a letter sent Monday to Chancellor Holden Thorp that Landen Gambill filed the complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, and he asks Thorp to dismiss charges against Gambill.

Gambill is accused of violating UNC's honor code by creating an intimidating environment for the man who says raped her, although she hasn't named him. A campus board earlier cleared him of the sexual assault charge and but found him guilty of harassing her. He faces no criminal charges.

"The retaliatory charges against my client are inappropriate, unconstitutional and utterly without merit," Turner wrote in the letter, adding that Gambill won't participate in the Honor Court hearing.

The attorney alleges that UNC administrators are trying to discredit Gambill, citing emails from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp to Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton in which Crisp says he knows of "no circumstances where the good faith report of a rape would result in Honor Code Charges."

"Mr. Crisp's not-so-subtle, and profoundly inappropriate, implication was that Ms. Gambill's allegations were false and made in bad faith," Turner wrote.

Gambill is one of five women who asked the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights to look into what they called an atmosphere of sexual violence at the school. UNC-Chapel Hill seal on sidewalk Attorney: UNC should drop honor code claim against sex assault victim

Their complaint accuses UNC-Chapel Hill of under-reporting sexual assault cases for 2010 in an annual report to the federal government on campus crime. It also alleged that campus officials allowed a hostile environment for students reporting sexual assault.

Turner says Gambill is only exercising her free-speech rights by discussing her experience and "UNC's shameful handling of her case." The honor code charge against her, he says, "has tragically provided her abuser with the opportunity to harass and intimidate her" and should stop.

"Ms. Gambill's public criticism of UNC – as an institution that ignores, silences and discredits sexual violence survivors as PR strategy – can no longer be met with attempts to ignore, silence and discredit her," he wrote in the letter to Thorp. "Instead, it is time for the university to take responsibility for the broken system it has created, starting by dismissing this case."

121 Comments

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  • kitelover110 Mar 26, 10:47 a.m.

    If a criminal act occurred, then take the evidence and complaint to the Chapel Hill PD. Sounds to me like a shyster is trying to get $$ from UNC-CH and is using this girl in the attempt. Shakespeare had the right idea "First, kill all the lawyers!"

  • Sherlock Mar 26, 9:58 a.m.

    School is just protecting the kid, they are not worried about the girls, she is not into sports, she was there to get an education. If she was someone that was into sports it would be different.

  • wildpig777 Mar 26, 8:58 a.m.

    JAT
    March 26, 2013 8:19 a.m.


    ------------------------------------------------------------
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    "With Duke, the administration threw them under the bus before the facts came out, that they were completely innocent of what they were accused. With UNC, the administration is trying to bury everything, despite the GUILT."- 4 autum

    you are totally correct and to this day NONE of the lynch mob adminastration od duke or dick broadhead has EVER been punished in any way.

  • kornfan2448 Mar 26, 8:47 a.m.

    Seems to me that the real crime, the alleged sexual assault that started all this, is what should take priority. Yet, she fails to file charges with the police for that, but continues to go after the university. Appears to me that there's a hidden agenda here being disguised with a report of sexual assault.

  • uragoner2 Mar 26, 8:42 a.m.

    Where are the police and court system in this story ? Hasn't a crime been commited one way or the other ?

  • kikinc Mar 26, 8:35 a.m.

    tar97heel-Your comments are disgusting. You are essentially saying that it's okay to take advantage of an intoxicated female. Great morals you have there.

  • JAT Mar 26, 8:19 a.m.

    Does this girl go to class or does she just set up press conferences and photo ops? It's time to move on. IF the ex raped her, there's no proof; and apparently there was no proof at the time. If she wants to stay at Carolina, then move on. I'm almost positive she never sees the guy - the chances of their paths crossing is slim and none. Otherwise, transfer to a college that she likes and resume her life.

    One student or 5 football players does not make the university bad. Every college has this mess going on; it''s just high profile for UNC right now.

  • FourAutumn Mar 26, 8:01 a.m.

    "With Duke, the administration threw them under the bus before the facts came out, that they were completely innocent of what they were accused.
    With UNC, the administration is trying to bury everything, despite the GUILT."

    And what proof do you have of anyone's guilt here? You have one person spreading the accusation...and she is not even talking to the police about it....only to the media.

  • FourAutumn Mar 25, 7:56 p.m.

    "I know one thing; if i had a kid, they would NOT be going to UNC>"

    LOL....I'm sure you are right.

  • carrboroyouth Mar 25, 7:55 p.m.

    "Is there any REAL education goin on at this school?"

    Yes. To assume that nothing good is coming out of Carolina is unfair. The media loves bad news and scandals, because it sells.

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