Education

UNC drops Honor Court case against student who reported rape

Posted June 6, 2013

— University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp is dismissing an Honor Court case against a sophomore who has questioned the university's handling of sexual assault cases, he said in an email to students and employees Thursday afternoon.

Landen Gambill was charged with violating UNC's Honor Code for allegedly creating an intimidating environment for a man who she says raped her, although she never publicly named him.

A campus board cleared him of the sexual assault charge and found him guilty of harassing her.

In March, Gambill and four other women filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to look into what they called an atmosphere of sexual violence at the school.

Gambill said Thursday that she withrdrew from the spring semester "because of the stress and re-traumatization that resulted from trying to deal with the charge."

She said she's relieved the charge has been dismissed.

"Now I can look forward to school next semester without having to worry about the threat of expulsion," she said.

Gambill has maintained that the honor code violation was retribution by the university for filing the complaint and speaking publicly about her case. Thorp, however, said that an outside review by a nationally recognized consultant on sexual misconduct issues found no evidence that the university retaliated.

"This has been a difficult situation for the students involved, and it has led to me to carefully re-examine two issues: How we can continue to protect our students' right to free speech, and the Honor Code provision dealing with disruptive or intimidating behavior that was the basis of the original charge," Thorp said.

UNC has revised its policy so that no student can be charged by the Honor Court with the violation until the Committee on Student Conduct "can adequately evaluate the provision."

"This action is not a challenge to the important role of students in our Honor System but is intended to protect the free speech rights of our students," Thorp said.

Gambill's attorney, Clay Turner, said the university's internal review was selective and narrow in scope. He also said his client's complaint that the school retaliated against her remains with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

The department has not began that investigation, he said.

Dropping the charge is "a step in the right direction, but a step many months too late," Turner said.

18 Comments

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  • Sherlock Jun 7, 1:52 p.m.

    Funny that he sent an email and could not meet her face to face. Why she would want to return to that school is a wonder, if I was her I would be taking my money to a better school.

  • Scubagirl Jun 7, 1:17 p.m.

    Her mistake was in NOT calling the REAL police, but then UNC doesn't want students to do that and I can understand that she thought the university would do the right thing. I'm betting that going forward if a student is sexually assaulted they will NOT be reporting it to the Honor Court but to the real cops.

  • Deb1003 Jun 7, 11:03 a.m.

    Of course UNC dropped the case, it was ridiculous in the first place!

  • 75Tarheel Jun 7, 10:42 a.m.

    No integrity whatsoever at UNC-CH. None. First the murder, then the athletic mess, now this...

    Alex25

    OH YEA, d#*M that Eve Carson for getting herself all murdered up and such. Are you ignorant or just trying to play ignorant with that statement?

    As for the football debacle, I couldn't agree more.

    This young lady made one crucial mistake, she didn't call the Chapel Hill police or the OCSO. Campus police all ill equipped for the most part to investigate these types of crimes.

    Glad it's over for everyone, especially for her.

    AND, BTW there's plenty of Integrity at Chapel Hill.

  • gw48014 Jun 7, 9:58 a.m.

    The man being accused was her long time boyfriend. I think it is all a little fishy. If you are raped please call 911 as soon as it happens.

  • Proud Liberal Jun 6, 7:48 p.m.

    So everyone say this woman lied about being rape. What should happen to her? Should she be charged for reporting false report of being raped. I hope the guy was not charged for a crime he did not commit.

  • Fireflies Rock Jun 6, 7:41 p.m.

    Glad to hear it; it's about time

  • jdupree Jun 6, 7:40 p.m.

    Everyone in this needs to move on. She needs to sue him or file criminal charges and quit harrassing him. The District Attorney needs to review it. UNC needs to quit enforcing Criminal Law in Orange County and leave it to professionals so no University reputation politics gets involved.

  • Reform Partier Jun 6, 7:29 p.m.

    " and campus police should be regulated to a private security group." --- davisgw

    I agree. Hire Blackwater or whatever they call themselves now.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Jun 6, 7:29 p.m.

    If she was raped she should have called the real police in the first place.

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