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.
Landen Gambill, a sophomore at UNC, was part of a group that filed a complaint in January with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, alleging the university has routinely violated the rights of sexual assault survivors and failed to assist them in recovery after the reported abuse. Ten days after they filed their complaint, the graduate student attorney general sent a warning to Gambill that she may have violated the school’s Honor Code, Jezebel reports.
On Friday, Gambill got an email informing her that she was being formally charged with an Honor Code violation for “disruptive or intimidating behavior” against her alleged rapist, although she has never publicly named him. If the UNC Honor Court finds Gambill guilty, the punishment could be expulsion, suspension, community service or grade penalty, among other options.
“Obviously, I’m afraid. I never meant to make anyone mad at me [by speaking out],” Gambill told HuffPost. “I’m mostly surprised at just how crazy it is, that they’re willing to charge me with something just because my rapist is feeling uncomfortable.”
UNC spokesperson Susan Hudson said in an email the university couldn’t comment about specifics in Gambill’s case because of federal privacy laws, but Hudson insisted this was in no way retaliation by the university.
Student attorneys general have the discretion to choose which cases should be considered by the court, Hudson said, and administrators “may not encourage or prevent” them from filing charges in a case. “Given that these charging decisions are made by student attorneys general and not by campus administrators, a claim of retaliation by the university would be without merit,” Hudson said.
Um. Maybe students should not be the ones deciding how both rape victims and alleged rapists on campus are treated, especially given how weird the social dynamics of a university setting can be? And how totally screwed up our cultural treatment of rape victims can be?
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