UNC Faces Second Federal Investigation Over Sexual Assaults
Already facing one federal investigation as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill‘s sexual assault scandal continues to deepen, the university will now undergo a second, simultaneous investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Clery Act Compliance Division to determine if the school violated federal law in its handling of sexual violence allegations.
Clery Compliance Coordinator James Moore III has stated the Department of Education received a complaint on February 20th alleging that “UNC has failed to accurately and completely disclose its campus crime statistics,” as well as not implementing ”certain required policies and procedures regarding the proper response to campus sexual assaults and the adjudication of such offenses by campus judicial bodies.”
These allegations echo previous claims by Landin Gambill, the UNC sophomore who has been at the epicenter of the sexual assault scandal after alleging that former assistant dean of students Melinda Manning was told to under-report the number of sexual assaults at the school. Gambill’s initial allegation of being sexually assaulted had also been the last sexual assault at UNC to be investigated by the student-lead Honor Court rather than the school administration, an experience that Gambill has called “traumatic.” Gambill now faces the risk of possible expulsion by the Honor Court after being accused of “intimidating” her alleged attacker by speaking out about her assault.
UNC administration officials have denied that Manning was told to under-report the number of sexual assaults. Accurate reporting of crime statistics and immediate alerts to students in regards to potential security threats are mandated by the Clery Act, and failure to do so requires a $35,000 penalty per violation.
“We expected this review, and will cooperate fully with the review team,” UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said in a statement. “We are committed to complying with the Clery Act and properly informing students and the campus community about criminal activity and safety threats. The review is an opportunity to make additional improvements if needed.”
The review by the Clery Commission will commence on April 2nd, and will cover crime figures from 2009 to 2012 by examining safety information given to students as well as all police reports and security logs. This task force remains separate from the Office of Civil Rights’s simultaneous investigation into claims of a hostile climate towards sexual assault victims at the school and an inability to properly provide counseling and resources to victims.