Education

Students to UNC-CH: 'Stop protecting rapists'

Posted January 30, 2013

— Sex assault victims and their supporters rallied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Wednesday, calling for the university to change how it deals with sexual assaults on campus.

"I demand that the administrators at the university stop protecting rapists," Landen Gambill, a sophomore and sex assault survivor said during the rally outside Chancellor Holden Thorp's office.

"There are rapists on this campus, and the university knows it," Gambill said. "The university knows who and what they are, but they’re still here as a direct result of specific administrators protecting them.”

Gambill is one of several current and former students who, along with former assistant dean of students Melinda Manning, recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, accusing the school of under-reporting sexual assaults in an annual report to the federal government on campus crime.

The 34-page complaint alleges that UNC-Chapel Hill officials also violated federal laws by dismissing the reports of sexual assault victims who came forward and failing to adequately train employees in offering support for those victims.

University officials have denied the allegations, but more than two dozen students said Wednesday that UNC-Chapel Hill has long ignored and intimidated sex assault victims, even blaming them for their assaults on occasion.

UNC-CH rally for sex assault victims UNC-CH students demand more support for sex assault victims

"I was promised I'd be treated fairly in my abuser's trial. Instead, I was blamed for everything he did to me," Gambill said, referring to the campus Honor Court's handling of her case.

Thorp said last week that the school is considering hiring Gina Smith, a nationally recognized sexual misconduct expert who helps universities appropriately respond to sexual assault issues.

Students said that doesn't go far enough, and they demanded a new university policy on handling sex assault cases, more training for faculty and staff and more resources for victims.

"We're not being taken into account. Our stories are not being addressed," said junior Andrea Pino, another sex assault survivor who filed the federal complaint. "This story is not about numbers. This story is about survivors who are being silenced."

Pino said she, Gambill and other sex assault survivors need to be able to provide input to any changes UNC-Chapel Hill is considering.

"I and other survivors should not have to walk around our campus each day with the fear of seeing the men who raped us," Gambill said. "It's time for this university to listen to women, to trust us and to believe us. We will not be silenced. We've endured injustice for far too long."

47 Comments

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  • Uhavenoclu Jan 31, 10:01 a.m.

    The things she is saying that they accused her and others opf it,goes on all the time..happens in every court room,they put the blame on the victim..I.E..You invited it to happen,did you know the person,why did you get so close,blah blah blah...
    You are brave for coming forward and making a say and hopefully the UNC Police can do something aboput it for they would do more for you then Thorpe,remember what is is and was going though?.

  • working for deadbeats Jan 31, 9:56 a.m.

    Now libs want criminals to be dealt with correctly? Oh, it hit too close to home I bet.

  • readme Jan 31, 9:46 a.m.

    It seems to me we need to see more specifics. I have a hard time believing UNC administrators or student leaders would be that apathetic about something like this. Not saying it wouldn't happen though.

  • NC Reader Jan 31, 9:21 a.m.

    This is not limited to UNC, nor is it unusual. In the past few years, at several campuses throughout the country, women (and men) are accusing their schools of not taking rape and other sexual assaults seriously. Yale, Amherst, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Indiana, the University of Montana, Texas A&M, the University of Wisconsin, Reed, Dominican College -- all have been accused of covering up or not taking sexual assaults seriously. I personally know of students at private and other public NC universities who are upset at how their universities handle reported sexual assaults.

    Thankfully, a few brave students at UNC are speaking out. It is just a matter of time before students at other schools in NC do the same. As for it being "kinda funny," as one poster said: Rape is NEVER funny; allegations of rape are NEVER funny. It doesn't matter whether it's at UNC or at one of our military academies.

  • winemaker81 Jan 31, 8:50 a.m.

    "Instead of focusing on what women can do to avoid being raped, why don't you focus on what we can do to prevent men from being rapists? Why blame the victim, when it makes so much more sense to hold the perpetrator responsible? Isn't that actually common sense?" --27228

    Common sense??? You advocate finding every potential rapist and fixing the problem before it starts? If you can do that you can wipe crime out completely from the human race!

    /sarcasm

    We can't find every potential rapist before they commit a crime, but we can train every woman who is willing to learn how to NOT be a victim, to avoid situations that put them at risk. No solution eliminates the danger but active avoidance of bad situations will reduce it.

    It *is* personal responsibility -- each and every person is responsible for avoiding the dangers they can. THIS is common sense.

  • foghat001 Jan 31, 8:36 a.m.

    They'd be better directed to the law enforcement agencies.

  • Constitutional-Defender Jan 30, 7:32 p.m.

    Does anybody really believe UNC is "protecting rapists" Seriously?
    It is kinda funny to see a predominantly liberal school get harassed by their own. Wasting time and money and resources all in the name of "whats right" LOL

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 30, 7:27 p.m.

    4Strikes - "And here all along, I was under the impression that UNC-CH was against rapists."

    If it's not doing the right things to ensure that rapes are investigated and rapists are punished for their crimes, UNC-CH is creating a rather favorable environment for rapists. Don't you think?

    Or don't you think??

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 30, 7:24 p.m.

    "I love all the common sense and advocating that people take equal responsibility for themselves."

    Lord, help you!!!

    That's like saying those working in a bank who get robbed by a bank robber are at fault for getting robbed which is idiocy!!!

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jan 30, 7:23 p.m.

    "Thorp said last week that the school is considering hiring Gina Smith, a nationally recognized sexual misconduct expert who helps universities appropriately respond to sexual assault issues."

    It shouldn't have to go that far.

    If school administrators don't know in their hearts and heads what is the right thing to do, and then do it, they need to step down and hire administrators who DO.

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