Education

UNC system considers changing how campus sex assault cases handled

Posted May 8, 2014

— Students would no longer be part of university panels handling campus sexual misconduct allegations under a proposal being considered by University of North Carolina system officials.

The push for specially trained investigators to look into such cases is among 34 recommendations by a group tasked with upgrading security on the system's 16 university campuses.

UNC-Chapel Hill is under federal investigation for how administrators handle sexual assault cases on campus. The investigation by the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights was launched after five women alleged the school under-reported assault cases and created a hostile environment for students reporting sexual assaults.

Because sex assault, dating violence and stalking are considered violations of student codes of conduct at UNC campuses, some schools refer the matters to panels that include students – some are even run by students – for adjudication. The Campus Security Initiative draft report suggests that UNC adopt a systemwide sexual assault policy that complies with applicable federal regulations and set guidelines for the training and skills those investigating cases must have.”

Other recommendations included providing more training for campus police in terms of responding to sex assault cases and designating one person on each campus to handle the annual reporting of campus crime as required under the federal Clery Act.

The draft report, which still must be reviewed by UNC President Tom Ross, also calls for more resources to battle alcohol and substance abuse on campuses and to raise the salaries of campus police officers to the levels offered by other law enforcement agencies.

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  • LuvsThePack May 9, 11:09 a.m.

    Do they do ANYTHING right at Chapel Hill?

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    This is for the entire UNC system (16 institutions), not just UNC-CH

    — Posted by wufpaker

    I know, but Chapped Hole is one of only TWO North Carolina universities included in that federal investigation of the handling of sexual assaults.

    So again I ask: Do they do ANYTHING right at Chapel Hill?

  • wufpaker May 9, 10:23 a.m.

    Do they do ANYTHING right at Chapel Hill?

    — Posted by LuvsThePack

    This is for the entire UNC system (16 institutions), not just UNC-CH

  • wufpaker May 9, 10:21 a.m.

    What business does a university have in handling a felony case - rape? This is something for the police. Why do victims not go to the police? I just can't understand why a rape victim doesn't go to the police. Not trying to pick on the victims here, but if you want your case to be taken seriously, report it to a real police department, not some university administrator.

  • Objective Scientist May 8, 6:53 p.m.

    I hope that higher education is moving away from the notion that student behavior should be "handled" or "dealt with" on-campus, by the school, and/or even by student-run processes. It has been a while since I was an undergrad college student, but even then it seemed - at minimum - "strange" for the University to judge a student's behavior and determine what the punishment/corrective action should be... when anyone not a student would have been arrested and charged by law enforcement, and ultimately judged by a jury and/or a judge in the legal system. The focus of this article - campus sexual assault - is on an activity that is serious and for which the "drunken frat guy" or 'dorm guy", as the case may be, should be held accountable! It is truly a "no brainer"! Commit a sexual assault and/or ANY act or crime that results in an arrest off campus... should result in an arrest ON campus!

  • LuvsThePack May 8, 4:32 p.m.

    Do they do ANYTHING right at Chapel Hill?

  • busyb97 May 8, 4:28 p.m.

    How about this.......a sexual assault happens and is reported to the university powers that... View More

    — Posted by scubagirl2

    Agreed! Campus police and student panels can be used for smaller issues, but this is ASSAULT and a crime. Chapel Hill Police, or appropriate LEOs, and no one else, should handle these cases.

  • lewiskr45 May 8, 3:56 p.m.

    "sex assault, dating violence and stalking are considered violations of student codes of... View More

    — Posted by SaveEnergyMan

    They still are crimes, but schools are allowed to punish the assailant (sometimes without much evidence, less than what is needed in a criminal case) in addition to local law enforcement.

  • LastSon1981 May 8, 3:52 p.m.

    How about this.......a sexual assault happens and is reported to the university powers that... View More

    — Posted by scubagirl2

    Great now that we've got that solved on the WRAL comment board were we solve the big issues. Lets move on to the deficit.

  • Jump1 May 8, 3:42 p.m.

    They are going to really do an investigation? And then the victim can hope to get thrown out of school for reporting it? The school goes by the say lets don't and say we did.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 8, 3:41 p.m.

    "sex assault, dating violence and stalking are considered violations of student codes of conduct".

    Excuse me, aren't these considered crimes? That would require investigation by police, not student conduct courts. Laws aren't suspended when crossing campus boundaries. State law applies everywhere in the state. How are they allowed to do this with the Cleary Act?

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