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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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80 Responses

  1. Li
    Li February 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

    Ok, so I’ve done a lot of work in peer conflict resolution (primarily in student conference and collective settings), and a “UNC Honor Court” seems like the least helpful thing I can imagine short of a “UNC Ultimate Fighting Championship”.

  2. Lolagirl
    Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 1:40 pm |

    I find it absolutely appalling that colleges and universities here in the U.S. still get away with treating the crime of rape as though it is a disciplinary matter. And the silencing of rape victims who speak out at all? That’s just beyond the pale.

    My alma mater is no longer getting any of my alumna dollars after they and their more famous neighboring University repeatedly mishandled and covered up allegations of rape both on and off campus. That so little has changed since I graduated over 15 years ago still flabbergasts me, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, what with them being Catholic institutions.

    1. EG
      EG February 26, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

      I find it absolutely appalling that colleges and universities here in the U.S. still get away with treating the crime of rape as though it is a disciplinary matter. And the silencing of rape victims who speak out at all? That’s just beyond the pale.

      This is exactly what I wanted to say. Thank you, Lolagirl.

  3. jimbeam
    jimbeam February 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm |

    I read things like this:

    Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another (other than on the basis of protected classifications identified and addressed in the University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination) so as to adversely affect their academic pursuits, opportunities for University employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life.

    And I always think that it’s the most vague, prone-to-abuse thing ever. Things like “disruptive or intimidating”, “abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes”, “opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life” – it seems like it just turns into “don’t be a person we don’t like”.

    And I get why you’d want to stop someone from falsely claiming something about another student, but I’d say let the student press charges of some sort, and then he can present evidence that the what was said against him is false. I don’t see the point of the university doing it for him. That’s how defamation works in the court system, right?

    1. thefish
      thefish February 27, 2013 at 2:46 pm |

      Not really. In the criminal system if someone lies about you committing a crime to the police the state (if it decides to investigate) goes and investigates and presses charges for you. Ditto for more general criminal liable or defamation charges. You present no evidence of any kind.

      Plus she isn’t being charged with defamation. She is being charged with intimidation/disruptive behavior.

    2. thefish
      thefish February 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm |

      And I always think that it’s the most vague, prone-to-abuse thing ever. Things like “disruptive or intimidating”, “abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes”, “opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life” – it seems like it just turns into “don’t be a person we don’t like”.

      I totally missed my intended reply to this point. Yes, yes it is. And now its unfortunately being used to attack victims it seems. I think this is a pretty clear example of why we need to make sure accused have protections, and we don’t define abuse overly broadly. Its the abused and powerless who get harmed when protections are stripped away. The ones the peeps in power don’t like. This policy was probably made with the intent of giving broad protections to victims. But instead it has become one more way to abuse them.

  4. speedbudget
    speedbudget February 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

    They should have been more efficient. My Resident Assistant on my dorm floor talked me out of reporting my rape. If you stop the victim before the report is made, you really don’t have to go through all this.

    /sarcasm

    1. tinyhips
      tinyhips February 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

      Colleges and Universities still care more about their reputations than their student’s safety and well being. Back in 1999, as a freshman, I was drugged (“roofied”) at a frat party- I don’t remember anything after a guy handing me a drink. Later on I learned that my best friend had to have someone break into the bedroom where they had stashed me for later.

      My friends then carried me back to the dorm on her back. When we got to the dorm the college’s EMT team was called but they would not take me to the hospital. Instead the school “sentenced” me to one 3 hour drug/alcohol information session and put a disciplinary mark on my college record. No one would believe that I had been drugged and at the time I just wanted the whole nightmare to be over.

      It saddens and disgusts me that rape is still being swept under the rug and survivors are still being blamed on campuses in this country.

  5. Radiant Sophia
    Radiant Sophia February 26, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

    Every university in the U.S. will ALWAYS do whatever is necessary to prevent reporting a rape, to cover it up if it is, to shame rape victims, and to hide a rapists identity. This isn’t really news, it’s been this way since women have been allowed into universities.

    1. Marksman2010
      Marksman2010 February 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

      Radiant Sophia nailed it. Since our universities have made the transition from being schools to becoming corporations, what else should we honestly expect from them? They care only about the bottom line, not about people–including students who have suffered sexual abuse on-campus or at university-related events.

      R.S. made an insight that I believe is significant:

      do whatever is necessary to prevent reporting a rape, to cover it up if it is, to shame rape victims, and to hide a rapists identity.

  6. Thomas MacAulay Millar
    Thomas MacAulay Millar February 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

    The silver lining is that this is blowing up in their face.

    I have an idea of how this works, and some people may disagree, but here it is: it is always in the institution’s interest to cover up. However, individuals have to take much of the risk to accomplish it; to say the inappropriate things and make the threats. It’s only when those individuals get publicly identified and shamed that it deters the next one, and I think that tomorrow and next month when someone in the administration at another university has to decide what to say to another survivor, “look what happened to UNC” is a very mild deterrent. But “look what happened to Mr./Ms. ______” is a very powerful deterrent.

    So far, I have not seen the names of the individuals at UNC used much. I’d like to see that change. Sure, it’s a structural issue. But the way to fix the structural issue is for the individual to be scared they’ll be hung out to dry if they serve the system. That’s my view.

    1. samanthab
      samanthab February 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm |

      I dunno about anyone else, but I’m in full agreement. I don’t know if it adds to the ugly nature of this or not- culpable is culpable- but UNC Chapel Hill is also 60% female. I wouldn’t bet they don’t want to lose their majority population over fears of campus safety.

  7. kathleen
    kathleen February 26, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

    I am a little confused so I am hoping someone can explain this to me. Why are the rapes reported to campus authorities instead of the police? Do campus authorities have the same role as the police, i.e. are they able to charge the rapist? If not why are they not involving the police? My understanding of campus police is they are more like glorified security guards.

    1. Lolagirl
      Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm |

      See my comment above.

      The SOP on most U.S. college/university campuses is to NOT report rape to the nearest municipal/county/state police force for investigation. Instead, campus police and/or the internal campus disciplinary committee will look into allegations of rape and potentially mete out consequences to perpetrators. This means that rapists who rape on campus will never see the inside of a jail cell, let alone be convicted of the crime of rape/sexual assualt or do any prison time.

    2. Ianal
      Ianal February 26, 2013 at 3:22 pm |

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that real police and university discinpline are separate systems akin to criminal vs civil. In theory if you are attacked by another student you could report to the real police and to the school, and, say, if the real police didn’t find enough evidence to charge the person the school could still decide to discipline them.

      In practice, it seems like students often don’t know they can/should report to the police separately, or are actively discouraged from doing so. I’m not aware of any reason the real police wouldn’t have jurisdiction, I think they just don’t get the reports in time because of all this confusion?

      1. Ianal
        Ianal February 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm |

        Form huffingtonpost: “Gambill says she went to the Dean of Students Office to report an abusive ex-boyfriend for stalking in March 2012. She filed a complaint with the university’s Honor Court system in the hopes that it’d be faster and less complicated than the legal system. ”

        So it sounds like the university was dealing with it because that’s who she reported to. Reporting to the police has its own set of potential problems, but they can’t do anything if they don’t know about the crime. (In the cases I remember from my friends at college, they were blown off separately by both the police and the school, but they were separate.)

      2. Ianal
        Ianal February 26, 2013 at 3:31 pm |

        Another quote

        “Many students said they hesitated to approach the Honor Court because of its composition. The only recourse for students who opted not to go to the court was to seek criminal charges, which most chose not to do, Manning said. That means most perpetrators would go completely unpunished.

        Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/04/24/ocr-dear-colleague-letter-prompts-big-change-sexual-assault-hearings-unc#ixzz2M2UdMdm6
        Inside Higher Ed “

      3. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm |

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that real police and university discinpline are separate systems akin to criminal vs civil.

        Well, sort of.

        If the real police get involved, a rapist actually has the potential of facing arrest, trial, conviction and even jail time for their crime. If a University/College keeps the matter an internal disciplinary matter than the worst that may happen is expulsion of that rapist. More often than not, nothing is done at all in response to allegations that a student was raped on campus.

        My opinion? All criminal cases of rape or severe bodily harm should be investigated by real police and referred to the local prosecuting authority (State’s Attorney/Prosecutor’s Office/ District Attorney/whatever local term applies.) That way, there is a far greater likelihood that a thorough and professional investigation is done by trained officers. Furthermore, the perpetrators can face actual consequences for undertaking criminal activity.

        It makes absolutely zero sense to treat a College campus as though it’s literally above the reach of the law. It only serves to provide criminals with a free pass to engage in criminal activity with little consequence, and more often than not with the assurance that they will have continued, unfettered access to additional victims. Add in the slut shaming that is still so horrendously common in our society, which only further emboldens and fosters an environment where rapists can and will continue to get away with rape.

        1. Ianal
          Ianal February 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm |

          If the real police get involved, a rapist actually has the potential of facing arrest, trial, conviction and even jail time for their crime. If a University/College keeps the matter an internal disciplinary matter than the worst that may happen is expulsion of that rapist. More often than not, nothing is done at all in response to allegations that a student was raped on campus.

          Will, that’s why I compared it to civil court, where you also can’t go to jail but can be forced to pay damages or whatever. I’m not saying I approve, but people keep asking why universities are adjudicating these cases at all and I was trying to explain the system.

        2. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

          Civil courts are still a matter of public record (unless sealed by Judge’s orders, which is done very rarely) and easily searchable and verifiable. Which means that even a finding in civil court can follow a defendant around after the fact.

          The main issue then with the way Colleges and Universities handle criminal matters (that is, keeping them an internal disciplinary one) is that they are also quite secretive with this process. As a result, a rapist will usually have their precious privacy protected at all costs, and any findings against them by their administration will never be a matter of public record.

          Shorter version, there is still a significant difference between these two things.

        3. Ianal
          Ianal February 26, 2013 at 6:21 pm |

          I guess there’s no point in arguing about this but I still feel you’re misunderstanding me. I am not staying university courts are exactly like civil court. I was saying that a crime can be addressed by both university court and criminal court with different rules and penalties , and pointing out as an analogy that a crime can also be addressed with different rules and penalties both by criminal and civil court (see oj Simpson). I was using an analogy to explain why university courts can deal with sexual assault at all even though it is a criminal matter, not saying that it is the same as civil court with all the same consequences.

        4. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

          I was using an analogy to explain why university courts can deal with sexual assault at all even though it is a criminal matter,

          I’m not trying to be “argumentative” but this is a site for debate and discussion. Disagreement is going to be a part of that at times.

          And I absolutely don’t agree that Universities are in any position to be dealing with criminal matters. I mean, if they want to also undertake their own investigation and possibly undertake disciplinary action against a student for engaging in criminal conduct, sure have at it I suppose.

          But the problem at hand is that U.S. Colleges and Universities have created a system wherein they have sole jurisidiction over the investigation and punishment of criminals and their criminal conduct on campus property. That is an untenable situation that enables criminals and undermines justice for their victims. As I have also already pointed out, it also makes it terribly easy for criminals to continue with their criminal conduct. Because rape is a crime, and rapists are criminals. But the status quo does not treat them are criminals engaging in crime, and that has to stop.

    3. ColoradoSal
      ColoradoSal February 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

      Something that your comment brought to mind is that a lot of colleges make it seem like you should call campus security unless you have an immediate life-threatening emergency (fire, medical emergency — then you dial 911). They tend to not give information about how to contact the local police outside of 911, so students don’t think of their local police as an option. Students are given the impression that any crime needs to go through the campus first.

      1. Ianal
        Ianal February 26, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

        I know that’s the impression I had when I was first in college. And maybe if you want the closest by person to rescue you fastest that makes sense, but for deals with serious crime after the fact students need to be told to call the actual police, or at least told the difference explicitly so they can choose.

      2. I.M.
        I.M. February 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm |

        If you called 911 at my undergraduate campus, you would usually end up getting the campus police, not the city police. They had some special deal that let them listen in on normal 911 calls and respond to them. I think this was a relatively unique situation, because they were actually a private police force, not a security squad like you have on most campuses (we were in a “bad” neighborhood). I’d never thought about how disturbing that is until today.

    4. Megan
      Megan February 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm |

      I think it may be helpful to clarify that each university is different, both in it’s campus police/security and in its internal disciplinary process.

      At some universities, campus police is an actual police force with jurisdiction over the campus and the ability to investigate and send charges to a prosecutor. At others campus police is some level of public safety/security that can respond to an emergency or criminal situation, but without the ability to do an official investigation or arrest/charge anyone.

      Additionally, every university has a different internal process. Students at our university who work with the campus advocacy program are always given all of their options, including reporting to police and reporting to the university. At our school, there are a number of survivors who choose to only go through the campus procedure because the burden of proof is lower and it’s not as public as a criminal trial.

      All this to say, it totally depends on the university. Institutions of higher education are definitely not reknowned for their response to sexual assault or their support of victims, but there are schools where the internal process may offer a welcome option to a survivor whose only other choice is the criminal justice process, which often sucks just as hard, if not harder, than the university process.

  8. Raging Leftie
    Raging Leftie February 26, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

    This is completely disgusting. Not sure if my other comment is published or not (a tip don’t double click ‘post comment’). I cannot believe that this is acceptable behavior from universities in this day and age, what really mean is, Why is this behavior not illegal? Surely these universities should be doing everything possible to support these women, who are vulnerable and have been violated in the most horrendous way possible. There needs to be serious action to stop this kind of thing from happening to women who just need help, they don’t need to be made to feel like they are lying, you get enough of that from the police, it really is no wonder that the statistics for the reporting of rape and sexual assault are so low.

  9. Sparky the Wonder Girl
    Sparky the Wonder Girl February 26, 2013 at 4:21 pm |

    she’s being censured by her university for complaining about them to a government department that is supposed to be able to help her when the university won’t. That’s like being fired from your job for talking to the EEOC about harassment. It’s totally shady, and UNC (the flagship of the system I work for, so this crap is personal) ought to be ashamed of themselves, especially since they were already under scrutiny for being a rapey place.

  10. bleh
    bleh February 26, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

    How absurd to suggest she could “intimidate her rapist.” If she were planning to “intimidate her rapist” wouldn’t she just do it on the front end and thereby avoid the rape?

    1. catie
      catie February 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm |

      You know as a person with a disability I intimidate able bodied people all the time. Maybe I should be tried by a university court system, and have it explained to me that I was intimidating the faculty when I asked for accommodations…I mean how else am I going to learn my lesson?

      1. Mike Crichton
        Mike Crichton March 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm |

        I’ve heard (through translators, not being fluent in ASL myself) stories from Deaf people about being kicked out of restaurants because their signing “disturbed” the other customers. Luckily, this was after the ADL, so they were able to sue, but still, it’s amazing the sheer terrifying power that disabled people have to “intimidate”, isn’t it? :-P

        1. Mike Crichton
          Mike Crichton March 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm |

          And of course I meant the ADA, not the ADL.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune March 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm |

          What in the actual fuck.

  11. chava
    chava February 26, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

    rageosaurus. seriously, Carolina, because John Stewart needed another segment on your pitiful state.

  12. Henry
    Henry February 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

    Um. Maybe students should not be the ones deciding

    wow, back in the day students went to school and studied, now they administer their campuses? why does this remind me of lord of the flies?

    1. Andie
      Andie February 26, 2013 at 6:05 pm |

      Um, that’s pretty fucking condescending considering a good number of post-secondary students are considered adults.. Eligible to vote and go to war at the very least (I’ll never get your country’s drinking age though).

      But yeah, compare them to a bunch of 12-year-olds.

      1. Henry
        Henry February 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm |

        The kids in Lord of the Flies were not qualified to run a society. These UNC law students are NOT qualified to act as “attorneys”, investigate parts of rape cases, or in general make any sort of determination or press charges against their fellow students. They should stick to writing tickets for improperly parked bicycles, though at this point I question their judgment for even that job.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog February 26, 2013 at 6:33 pm | *

          Henry, *every* tertiary-level educational institution that I know of has a Student Council which is responsible for running many facilities on campus, so long as the activities which take place within those facilities are extra-curricular (e.g. they oversee the canteens and sports facilities, they do not oversee the library or the faculty). This is where many young people get their first taste of political participation, in student politics, and having real responsibilities that really matter is a crucial part of training young people in political activity.

          Obviously, each institution has a Student Council constitution which constrains the areas of oversight for their own student administrators, and some of those constitutions are better thought out than others. This Honor Council idea seems like it might have made much more sense a century ago than it does now, particularly if it has the power to expel a student without being subject to veto by the institution’s academic administrators. But the simple existence of an Honor Council which can adjudicate Honor Code violations in parallel with other processes does not strike me as wrong in principle, although it’s clear that it can be abused in practise.

        2. Henry
          Henry February 26, 2013 at 7:01 pm |

          I hate to agree with you too Lolagirl. :)

          Let’s be real here for a moment, 50 bucks says a university admin pushed this and got the student government to do it. – so I guess they are learning politics.

          I doubt any student officer is daft enough to wake up one morning and say “let me dip into this rape case and federal investigation by hunting one of the people involved”

      2. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

        I kind of hate to agree with Henry, but no way, no how should College students be put in charge of and investigating criminal matters at their school.

        Full stop.

        Please tell me you don’t share the outrage that these students are punishing a rape victim for speaking out about her rape by threatening to expel her. Because it’s disgusting and outrageous and utterly without reason. The fact that they are seeking to punish a rape victim instead of her rapist speaks volumes to their utter incapacity to take the matter seriously or do the actual right thing. Which would mean handing over a rapist to the police so that they can do the actual police work instead of persecuting a crime victim.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl February 26, 2013 at 6:30 pm |

          Oops, meant to type please tell me you do share the outrage, and don’t agree with the disciplinary action of this so-called “Honor Court.”

        2. Andie
          Andie February 26, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

          My only gripe was with comparing university students to a bunch of pubescent kids, unable to at all govern themselves.

          However, as far as the actions of this so-called honour council, I think they are absolutely deplorable, hands down.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog February 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm | *

          I’m absolutely with you, Andie. The specifics of this case are deplorable, but drawing wild generalisations in response is unhelpful to say the least.

          Here’s hoping that the complaint to the Office of Civil Rights under the DoE leads to major improvements, although I suspect it will take a long time.

        4. Miriam
          Miriam February 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm |

          I was peripherally involved with a case like this when I was in college, although with a person accused (a teammate) rather than a survivor. The general perception at my college was that it was better for students to go through the Honors Court because it was more supportive of survivors and more likely to end up in a conviction.

          At the time, that all made sense. Looking back on it now, I’m horrified. My teammate was defended by someone else on our team, in other words an undergrad with no law training. I don’t know if the prosecutor was more legit but assuming not, that would mean a case of real life sexual assault was tried like a mock court. It’s insane to me that a university can legally handle a formal report of sexual assault like that.

          I also think there are some easy, common sense steps a university can take to help a person who’s reported a sexual assault that are independent of establishing guilt. In cases where the alleged attacker and the reporting survivor live in proximity, relocate one; provide warnings to reporting survivors if they’ve registered in a class with their alleged attacker and facilitate changes in registration to avoid being in a class; have adequate counseling services available on campus and recommendations for off-campus service; support survivors in reporting to police if that is required; support temporary leaves of absence for survivors. There are some things I’d like universities to do that I do think can only be done if the survivor is able to file a criminal complaint (like boot the rapist off campus), which sucks because the US legal system is so f-ed up when it comes to sexual assault.

  13. Henry
    Henry February 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm |

    here’s the full story in all it’s gory details. http://jezebel.com/5986693/college-rape-survivor-faces-potential-expulsion-for-intimidating-her-rapist

    http://studentconduct.unc.edu/about-us/our-staff <-and here are our stellar UNC Honor Code Staff. Notably Elizabeth Ireland, the "student" attorney general who filed the charges of honor code violation against Ms. Gambill is no longer on the website. http://studentconduct.unc.edu/about-us/our-staff/elizabeth-ireland

    I hope she was fired. Last time I checked you needed a bar admission to call yourself an attorney, and doing so without one was a misdemeanor - wouldn’t it be funny if Gambill wrote to the NC bar about these “student” attorneys general.

    Being a law student does not cut it. There’s a reason we call them students and don’t let them play with people’s lives. Sounds like the adminstration at UNC needs to do some supervising of it’s student workers.

    1. tigtog
      tigtog February 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm | *

      Henry, you are being an arse. Attorney-General is an administrative office, and always has been at all levels of government, and the hyphen is a lexically crucial to understanding what the office is about.

      This particular student Attorney-General may well be entirely in the wrong in this particular case (or else she’s simply performing the procedures that are part of the job), but she’s not wrong to call herself that if that is the job she does, whether she is qualified before the bar or not.

      1. Henry
        Henry February 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm |

        Think the students cowering under the student governance regime there understand that fine point? Find me a North Carolina AG that is not a bar member. http://www.ncdoj.gov/About-DOJ/The-Attorney-General.aspx

        At least they now know who their officers represent – pissed off university admins, not student victims. Last time I checked the AG’s office advocated on behalf of crime victims.

        1. tigtog
          tigtog February 26, 2013 at 6:59 pm | *

          Henry, each institution has its own conventions with how it structures its administrative offices and the titles it grants them. The University’s own constitution will lay this out in detail, and the way that the State of North Carolina orders the affairs of citizens has no direct relevance to the way that the University orders the affairs of the student body, other than being a parallel system so that the State’s procedures regarding this rape complaint do not have to take into account the University’s procedures regarding this rape complaint.

          At least they now know who their officers represent – pissed off university admins, not student victims.

          Adducing facts not in evidence! How do you know that it wasn’t the accused in this case who brought a complaint before the Honor Council, and that the Student A-G was therefore obliged by the University constitution to act on his complaint? I agree that he would be an arsehole to complain about Gambill’s actions when she scrupulously avoided using his name in public, but even arseholes have the right to lay complaints that follow institutional procedure and to have those complaints rigorously adjudicated.

        2. Henry
          Henry February 26, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

          http://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2012/12/victims-speak-up-on-assault

          They sure do have their own conventions. I’m not even going to write anything here in rebuttal. This story is all anyone needs to read.

        3. tigtog
          tigtog February 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm | *

          Yep, and I agree that most of those conventions suck and desperately need to be reformed. It seems clearly unjust that student courts should be able to hear matters regarding criminal matters at all – students should be able (and encouraged) to lay charges with the state prosecutors for such matters, and student courts should not be able to preempt and/or interfere with the findings of those properly constituted courts.

          Mind you, this strikes me as part and parcel of the particular USAn enthusiasm for local administration of many matters which most of the rest of the world long ago decided were better dealt with at the State or National level. e.g. your local-level public-school funding/administration system, which still gobsmacks me with the neverending instances of how sound/effective educational policies can be abused and undercut at the expense of the wider population by a few local loudmouths with an ideological agenda.

          This is a cultural shift that needs to happen at far more than just the level of this particular university.

        4. tigtog
          tigtog February 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm | *

          … and with this last response I moved the discussion well into spillover territory. If anybody wants to respond, I’m happy to do it over there.

        5. Echo Zen
          Echo Zen February 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm |

          Jesus, that Daily Tar Heel story is truly disgusting. I’ve known the general details of this case for a while, but not that the school decided to send graphic details about her rape and assault to her parents because the school thought they deserved to know. I had a chance to attend UNC because it’s the top-tiered school in reproductive health. Now I’m glad I never stepped foot in that misogynist hellhole.

      2. lawtalkinggirl
        lawtalkinggirl February 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm |

        I’m confuzzled…. the UNC “Student Attorney General” title does not use a hyphen. What is the significance of the hyphen in “attorney-general”?

        Incidentally, I am an actual “assistant attorney general” (no hyphen) and everyone who holds that appointed office in my state is required to be a member of the bar (or must become a member within 10 months). I understand the term “attorney general” to mean the lawyer who advises the chief executive officer of a government. UNC’s usage is strange and not the norm.

        P.S. I also think giving undergraduate students the power to “investigate” sexual assaults is not appropriate.

        1. Anon21
          Anon21 February 27, 2013 at 3:23 pm |

          UNC’s usage is strange and not the norm.

          Yeah, but holding an office with this weird title is not holding oneself out as a licensed attorney, so Henry’s suggestion that the student has committed a crime is off-base.

          P.S. I also think giving undergraduate students the power to “investigate” sexual assaults is not appropriate.

          I believe the “attorney general” is actually a grad student. But I don’t think giving a grad student this level of responsibility and apparent autonomy in intervening in what should be a criminal matter is a good idea either.

        2. tigtog
          tigtog February 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm | *

          Anon21 says pretty much what I would have said. @lawtalkinggirl, on further reading I realise that my hyphen assertion was generalising from Australian usage, so consider that portion of my argument retracted.

          Further discussion on the niceties of who gets to call themselves an attorney where and when does, at this point, definitely belong on the #spillover thread rather than further threadjacking here.

    2. Fishing for Insults
      Fishing for Insults February 26, 2013 at 10:51 pm |

      “Last time I checked you needed a bar admission to call yourself an attorney, and doing so without one was a misdemeanor”

      Does A Lawyer know about this?!

      1. tigtog
        tigtog February 27, 2013 at 9:31 am | *

        I, along with my siblings, hold Power of Attorney (jointly and severally) for our aged parents. This makes us attorneys-in-fact when we act as our parents’ agent, but it does not make us attorneys-at-law who are available for hire. That’s quite a crucial distinction that is being missed in this quibbling over whether it is legal for a student attorney-general to be titled an attorney-general.

  14. Kasabian
    Kasabian February 26, 2013 at 9:33 pm |

    Haha oh wow is this shit ever not going to fly. We’ve all heard the story of Pontius Pilate, and there’s no washing-of-hands when it comes to what your administration-endorsed and empowered student government does.

    I hope heads roll in the UNC administration, I reallly fucking do. People need to lose their jobs over this.

    1. Henry
      Henry February 26, 2013 at 10:26 pm |

      The whole thing stinks to high heaven of retaliation for daring to join a complaint to the DoE. She dared to complain about the UNC’s process for handling sexual assaults on campus and they put some bullshit student government charge on her hoping to shut her up. Sounds like witness intimidation to me.

  15. jojo
    jojo February 26, 2013 at 11:03 pm |

    I go to one of the most liberal, hippie, social justice-y of the liberal arts schools in the US.

    I have heard faculty and staff at our school say the following:
    1. We should prevent sexual assault here because we don’t want “angry phone calls from parents.”
    2. Sexual assault here is not as bad as a neighboring college, because that college has frats.
    3. Our disciplinary system is unfair to rapists.
    4. They have referred to a publicized rape at a local college as “that thing that happened.”
    5. When I complained that the administrators cared more about avoiding legal issues than about actual survivors on campus, a professor said, “Oh, they’re being too pragmatic for you?”

  16. Unree
    Unree February 26, 2013 at 11:11 pm |

    Why doesn’t the U.S. Department of Education require colleges and universities to publish how they handle reports of sexual assault on and near campus? If I were shopping for a college (or paying tuition as a parent), I’d want to know if 911 reaches university police instead of the city or county force, whether the university pressures (“encourages”) complainants to stay inside its hierarchy rather than call the real police, how many sexual assaults were reported to have occurred on campus in the last year, and other factual information a university could easily provide if it had to.

    1. Mike Crichton
      Mike Crichton March 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm |

      Because the DoE is more concerned with protecting the financial bottom lines of the institutions than anything else, and such publication would hurt that. Let’s hear it for regulatory capture!

  17. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 27, 2013 at 9:16 am |

    Actually, the U.S. Department of Education does require much of this. Look up the Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting for the Clery Act.

    1. Past my expiration date
      Past my expiration date February 27, 2013 at 9:41 am |

      Drat. That’s supposed to be a reply to Unree at 11:11 pm 2.26.2013.

    2. lynndee
      lynndee February 28, 2013 at 1:43 am |

      That’s why they (campus authorities) want to be the first ones called. This way they can *sweep it under the rug* deal with it on campus and not have to report it as an official incident. Schools with a higher incidence of campus or campus-related rapes/sexual assaults are not attractive to potential students (or parents as it was couched on my campus). So, the lower the number they have to publish= more students enrolled. Never-mind safety…

      1. Past my expiration date
        Past my expiration date February 28, 2013 at 6:48 am |

        That’s why they (campus authorities) want to be the first ones called. This way they can *sweep it under the rug* deal with it on campus and not have to report it as an official incident.

        No, if a crime gets reported to campus security, the institution has to include the crime in its Clery Act reports. Look it up.

  18. Ria
    Ria February 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

    “Many students said they hesitated to approach the Honor Court because of its composition. The only recourse for students who opted not to go to the court was to seek criminal charges, which most chose not to do”

    I’m wondering why they chose not to seek criminal charges. Sure, it may be that the legal system blows a few of them off, but at least they tried.

    Stalking and rape are serious crimes. You never know when you’re dealing with a serial stalker, serial rapist or even potential serial killer. By all means go to the police.

    At the very most college staff might be able to provide “emotional support” to a victim, but they cannot legally try a defendant in a court of law or arrest him and put him in jail. So what’s the point in reporting criminal activity to college administration at all?

    1. igglanova
      igglanova February 28, 2013 at 2:40 am |

      So what’s the point in reporting criminal activity to college administration at all?

      I’ve been wondering the same thing.

    2. Odin
      Odin February 28, 2013 at 8:50 am |

      I can think of a number of reasons people might report to their college administration rather than the police.
      - Most college students have spent most of their life in K-12 schools, where the expected way to respond to “another student did something to me during school” is to go to the school administration, because The Principal Is In Charge. It can be hard to shake that mindset in college.

      - Going to the college administration might seem like a less “serious” step than going to the police. If a survivor’s experience didn’t fit the stranger-in-a-dark-ally narrative, there is the very unfortunate meme that it’s not really rape-rape, boys will be boys, you shouldn’t have been drinking, how can you ruin his life by making a criminal accusation, etc etc. A survivor who has internalized these messages can have a hard time overcoming them and might feel safer taking less “serious” steps.

      - Given how under-reported rape is and how rarely it gets prosecuted, let alone results in a conviction, I can see why college students who have been raped might not bother going to the police. So I’ll be honest, I’m glad when they report to anyone.

      There are also things college administrations can do that the police can’t that still provide some minor consequences or protections — prohibit an on-campus fraternity from holding official parties/parties with alcohol for the rest of the school year, let the survivor move to another dorm mid-semester (although I think that’s backwards, they should be moving the rapist/stalker), arrange with the campus security* for a regular escort, etc etc. These are things that can help a survivor feel safer, which is important.

      *I don’t know how universal it is, but at my school campus police are real police, and so going to the administration might result in the student getting help making an actual police report.

  19. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve February 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm |

    I don’t want to sound stupid, but I read just about all the linked articles and I still can’t figure out what she has done which could be interpreted as ““disruptive or intimidating behavior” against her alleged rapist.”

    I don’t even see where there is any mention at all of her behaving in any way towards her alleged rapist. The only thing I can see is that she DIDN’T mention his name. Even if she did mention his name, that isn’t behavior. I don’t get the charge at all unless the rapist is claiming she behaved in a certain way. Isn’t there a chance that the alleged rapist could be making up lies and the complaint stems from him rather than the school? What does the school have to gain? If they wanted to sweep this under the rug that’s the last thing they should do.

    1. thefish
      thefish February 28, 2013 at 2:52 am |

      From what I’ve read the complaint needs to officially come from someone other than the honor court. So it seems likely that the complaint stems from the alleged rapist.

      Isn’t there a chance that the alleged rapist could be making up lies and the complaint stems from him rather than the school?

      Its not cool to immediately jump to the conclusion that the victim is lying. Just because they’ve done something bad isn’t an excuse for this sort of victim blaming.

      1. Lolagirl
        Lolagirl March 1, 2013 at 8:34 am |

        Its not cool to immediately jump to the conclusion that the victim is lying.

        Well, it’s a good thing that isn’t what Steve is concluding.

        Isn’t there a chance that the alleged rapist could be making up lies

        In the English language, the words alleged rapist refer to the person who is accused of raping another. Steve was in no way engaging in victim blaming, quite the opposite in fact.

        Reading comprehension, it’s a good thing.

        1. Lolagirl
          Lolagirl March 1, 2013 at 8:50 am |

          Reading again to try and get a handle on what your saying, thefish, and even giving it the most charitable reading I don’t get it. Why is theorizing that the alleged rapist here trumped up allegations to the Honors Court engaging in victim blaming? As it stands, rapists and alleged rapists already get the lion’s share of sympathy and benefit of the doubt in our society. That same society is more than happy to disbelieve allegations made by rape victims and assume the worst of those victims. As far as I can see, your HDU! at Steve only smacks of rape apologism.

      2. Henry
        Henry March 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm |

        Yes the complaint must come from a student, but “charging decisions are made by the appointed student attorney generals”
        http://abcnews.go.com/US/unc-student-risks-expulsion-public-alleged-rape/story?id=18609150

        In the real world I can go down to a police station and fill it with bullshit complaints, none of which will result in charges (except against me for filing false complaints). At UNC a student government official gets to make a charging decision.

  20. Scissors
    Scissors March 2, 2013 at 11:13 am |

    What kind of message is this sending to rapists and potential rapists? This story is sickening. I can’t even read throught the whole thing, it’s all over the internet and I don’t want to keep reading it over and over again. For some reason Joe Paterno springs to mind. The way he was protected and coddled up until death whilst whistle blowers were silenced. How is this any different? How much sleaze is being swept under the carpet because some people don’t want to deal with the ugliness? What happens when they run out of carpet? Because they will eventually run out of excuses and scapegoats. Then what? Another Penn. State or catholic sex-abuse scandal scenario that’s what!! UNC needs to man the f**k up and deal with it now like human beings. Next thing you know people start preferring online degrees over attending college. It’s plausible, especially in this economy. Universities must not forget who keeps them in business. Vast majority of the student body are young women just like Landen Gambill.

    1. Henry
      Henry March 4, 2013 at 3:29 pm |

      I agree with your sentiment Scissors, but the vast majority of the student body are not women (it’s around 43/57 or 40/60 depending on school type), nor are they like Ms. Gambill who suffered from depression (as a result of the abusive relationship). Basically the UNC administration has labeled her “crazy emo girl” (read: she made it all up) and tossed her under the bus because she happened to be a campus rape victim, a class of people they wish would just go away and will use any excuse to achieve this that they can.

      1. Scissors
        Scissors March 5, 2013 at 5:19 am |

        Even if they don’t make up the majority statistically, fact remains young women still make a significant contribution.
        Universities need to take that into account and foster a culture of genuine caring for all their students, male and female.
        Some of these institutions are all talk and no action.

  21. Link Love (2013-03-19) | Becky's Kaleidoscope

    [...] “Good work, University of North Carolina! It’s worth noting, too, that the student didn’t even use her alleged rapist’s name; she just detailed her struggle with reporting the rape and stalking she experienced, and how UNC’s honor code wasn’t all that helpful.” Student speaks about her sexual assault, is threatened with expulsion – Feministe [...]

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