Jul 08, 2013 10:43 AM EDT
Landen Gambill: UNC Chapel Hill Threatened 'Retaliation' Against a Federal Complaint
The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill is now facing its third sexual abuse investigation, the Huffington Post reported.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and its Office of Civil Rights (OCR) had already been investigating UNC in two separate investigations for failing to report sex crimes on campus and creating a hostile environment for the victims.
The latest investigation is over allegations that the school threatened to retaliate against sophomore Landen Gambill for filing a federal complaint against her school. Gambill's case became nationally recognized when she reported her abuse to the school and was later hit with an honor code violation.
UNC Chapel Hill is now under three investigations for underreporting sex crimes, failure to properly adjudicate rape at the school and discouraging victims from reporting the crime.
The first two investigations began after Gambill and four women filed federal complaints in January. The school denied Gambill's claim that school officials threatened to retaliate against her and will cooperate fully with the OCR.
"The university is reviewing the matter and will cooperate fully with OCR's investigation," UNC-Chapel Hill spokeswoman Karen Moon told The Huffington Post in an email.
Following her honor code violation charge, Gambill filed another complaint to the student-run honor court. The court said she made an "intimidating" environment for her attacker, an ex-boyfriend who Gambill has not named.
The honor code violation could have resulted in expulsion, but it was dropped. Rutgers University higher education law professor Barbara Lee was asked to review the situation and she found there was no retaliation, but that there was a serious flaw in the honor court.
Lee, along with numerous other faculty members expressed concern that the policy for which Gambill was originally punished had "potential for chilling or punishing free speech," according to the review.
Despite what Lee already concluded, UNC Chapel Hill will still be investigated for the retaliation allegations.
"Retaliation doesn't always have to be bad acts; it can be a failure to act," Henry Clay Turner, Gambill's attorney, said.
Gambill refused to cooperate in Lee's review because it was an investigation launched by the school, therefore, Lee did not interview Gambill.
In relation to UNC's alleged failure to report their sex crimes, 16 women involved in the "Know Your IX" campaign will hold a demonstration outside the DOE's D.C. office. The women plan to demand harsher penalties for schools that do not properly report sex crimes on campus.
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