Safety, Image, and Undergraduates: What is the community's role?

Travis Crayton's picture

News is breaking today that Landen Gambill, a UNC sophomore involved in the outstanding complaint against the University, could potentially face expulsion by the UNC Honor Court because she has allegedly "intimidated" her rapist and "adversely" affected his life. This development has already attracted (more) bad national press coverage for UNC.

This headline comes on the heels of news from the Daily Tar Heel that UNC junior Stedman Gage was found dead late Friday night at his off-campus residence. The cause of death has not yet been released by police. Gage is the fourth UNC student to unexpectedly die this academic year.

Though different in nature, both of these issues negatively affect the image of UNC and, by extension, our town and community at large. Perhaps the issue of how the Honor Court conducts its affairs is an internal matter to students and University administrators -- but I'm not so sure. If the University community decides that a victim of sexual assault is not welcome -- and is, in fact, in violation of its community standard -- does that not also reflect that the Chapel Hill community at large is also unwelcoming and unconcerned with issues of this nature?

Students, whether they live on campus or off, are a part of our community. They drive our downtown economy, live in our neighborhoods, and face many of the same problems that longtime community members continue to see as issues confronting our town. (Full disclosure: I am a current UNC undergraduate.) 

So, my question is this: What is the role of the Chapel Hill community in these issues of safety and image that are emerging (primarily) from UNC and UNC students? From what I've seen thus far, the broader Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County communities have been absent in the discussions of safety and image that are currently happening on campus and among students, faculty, and University administrators. Is there an appropriate role for community members to have here?

Furthermore, safety and image concerns aren't just a UNC-related concern, but rather, safety and image concerns frequently overlap with the Chapel Hill community at large. For example, barely two weeks ago, a sexual assault of a non-UNC student was reported at West End Wine Bar. And in the fall, an assault on Franklin Street involving both a UNC student and a non-UNC student resulted in gunfire in downtown.

UNC is a fundamental part of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County. As the University continues to face obstacles and dificulties, I think community members should be welcome as stakeholders in shaping our future. So how should community members contribute to the serious discussions happening about UNC and its future, particularly as it relates to safety for students and the image of the University and our town, if at all?

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Total votes: 1

49 Comments

Jared Simmons's picture

UNC Student Relations

First off, thank you for mentioning Stedman.  He was on my basketball team, and went on many trips with our church group in Wilmington.In regards to the newest development with Landen Gambill, I've seen a lot of questions develop concerning the Honor Court's role in this ongoing event.  People have questioned why the Honor Court has this authority or reach in a matter such as this, but I think that it has been doing the same thing that is ennumerated in the code, pertaining to events on campus between students.I have seen a divide between the plethora of student activism at UNC and the activism present in Chapel Hill/Carrboro.  The concerns of each group (UNC vs. the communities) rarely overlap, so there is a lack of coordination.  I think that due to the complex and interwoven relationship between the town itself and the University brass, both are limited to what they say and do in situations like this.  The question is, "should they say more?"  I believe, yes.  The town or University should not curb their participation in fear of the UNC relationship when it comes to crimes or safety for UNC students, bikers, day laborers, food truck owners, etc.  Each student while here at UNC has a relationship with the town in varying degrees, but nonetheless are part of this community.  We should support each other and stand up for what we believe is right, whether the victim(s) has a PID Number or not.

Mark Chilton's picture

Open Letter

An open letter I snet to Elizabeth Ireland of the UNC Honor Court: Dear Ms. Ireland,It has come to my attention that you are cited in an article on Jezebel.com as overseeing a particular case before the UNC Honor Court.While I understand that all Honor Court cases are confidential and not to be commented upon by Honor Court members, the allegations contained in the article need to be responded to (outside of the context of the specifics of that case).Specifically, the article on Jezebel.com asserts that a UNC student "asked whether she could have violated the Honor Code simply by saying she was raped; the answer was yes."Without regard to the specific facts of the case discussed on Jezebel.com, could you please clarify under what circumstances reporting a rape would amount to a violation of the UNC Honor Code?Sincerely;Mark ChiltonMayor of CarrboroUNC Class of 1993 Also posted on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/MayorChilton/posts/552250108139776?comment_id=61...

At the risk of bringing a

At the risk of bringing a tremendous amount of wrath upon me, I just wanted to point out that Ms. Ireland was not "cited" in the referenced article.  Ms. Gambill gave an interview that apparently quoted (paraphrased? inferred? made up? does anyone really know?) Ms. Ireland's statement.IF everything in that article is accurate, then I would agree that it is, at a minimum, a horribly distasteful event, if not even a crime in and of itself.  However, it's only fair to acknowledge that this is not an unbiased article from a neutral source, and it does not appear to contain any cross-checking of facts or attempts to corroborate the student's claims.This is, of course, the peril of the internet news cycle, whether it be this, or the N&O, or Facebook, or sports fan message boards . . . we may have already burnt people at the stake prior to learning any of the truth.

Mark Chilton's picture

Response from UNC

My email to Ms. Ireland was apparently passed along to UNC Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp, who responded to me in a pair of email messages.  Here is the combined text of the two emails:

Mark,Thanks for the email and for your concern.  I certainly know you understand the difficulty of responding to this but also agree that certain things need response.University Counsel has been very clear about what I can and cannot say without implicating privacy issues.  I can say (and we are saying this publicly) that the Instrument of Student Judicial Governance (Honor Code) does not include any charge that would cover alleging sexual assault or any other allegation that a student has violated the Instrument.  We certainly would not allow or support any charge of that nature.Feel free to call me if you have other questions.WC

 

I also want to be clear since your question is so specific.  I know of no circumstances where the good faith report of a rape would result in Honor Code Charges.WC

Thanks Mark

Thanks for publishing the Winston Crisp reply. Since Landen Gambill has been charged
with an honor code violation, does this imply that her report of a rape
was not in good faith? Or is the emphasis on the word "report", ie you
can report the rape to the honor committee, but if the accused is found
not guilty, you may never speak of it publically again? I think UNC is
digging themselves deeper into the hole.

Mark Chilton's picture

I think it might be

I think it might be important to look at the question I asked: "under what circumstances reporting a rape would amount to a violation of the UNC Honor Code?" Perhaps Crisp was responding to that question outside the context of the Honor Court case. Clearly a student making a bad faith report of a crime would be in violation of the Honor Code (because that would be lying and lying is against the Honor Code).  But it is notable that the UNC student in this case is not being charged with violating that part of the Honor Code (based on the email from Ireland published by Jezebel.com). Instead she is being charged under the "harassing/intimidating" provision of the Code. So is Crisp's comment about a "good faith report" meant to address my larger question or is it meant to address this situation before the Honor Court? Or both? Because the student is not being charged with lying and is instead being charged with "harassing" it appears that the Honor Court's issue is not about her good or bad faith, but about her actions after the report.  To me, talking publicly about being a victim is not harassment. Assuming that there isn't a whole bunch more that the rape victim has done to the guy besides publicly saying that her ex-boyfriend raped her, I think the Honor Court needs to dismiss this case.  I can see how some smartypants third year law student can torture the Instrument of Student Self-Governance (Honor Code) into an interpretation under which almost-publicly-identifying the student who raped her amounts to harassment of the rapist, but that is a foolishly robotic reading of the Honor Code. The Honor Court needs to grow up and join the real world. The (alleged) rapist is not the victim here.

The weight of labels

"Assuming that there isn't a whole bunch more that the rape victim has done to the guy besides publicly saying that her ex-boyfriend raped her..."Labelling someone as a rapist isn't an anonymous act. Her friends, friends of her friends, his friends, friends of his friends all know who he is. I can't even imagine what his life on campus is like. None of us know what happened between these two people, but a formal decision was made that he was verbally abusive but not physically. To continue calling him a rapist is just as blaming a rape victim for what happened to her.

Does it matter?

Courts never decide whether someone is innocent--they can only say there is insufficient evidence to convict. But last time I looked, our country believes accused individuals are innocent until proven guilty. The young man in question has not been proven guilty. 

Mark Chilton's picture

The presumption of innocence

The presumption of innocence is a presumption that the courts (and perhaps the government more generally) are required to abide by.  Private individuals are free to reach there own conclusions, Terri.  I have no idea what happened between the two students at the center of this controversy, but I know of no reason why the young woman should have to assume that her ex is innocent.Let's consider a hypothetical case: A man grabs his ex-wife, throws her onto the ground and forcibly rapes her. She files a police report.  The police arrest her ex-husband and the prosecutor puts him on trial for First Degree Rape in Orange County Superior Court.  The circumstances of the case are such that the identity of the accused is not an issue. The defendant hires a skillful lawyerwho manages to cast enough doubt on the question of whether she consented to get his client acquitted.  Unsatisfied with the results of the court case, the victim speaks out publicly denouncing the court system and the man who raped her.Is there something immoral, unethical or illegal about the victim's public statements after the trial? Does (or should) the court's acquittal of the rapist mean that the victim cannot still publicly accuse him?Does (or should) it matter that the accusations are hurtful to the rapist?  That his reputation in the community is ruined? That he develops PTSD? That he doesn't like how he was treated during the course of the investigation?My answer to all of these questions is a resounding "No." The victim absolutely has a first amendment right to tell her story and to denounce both the perpetrator and the courts.  If her accusations are false, the ex-husband has some recourse through a defamation lawsuit.  That's the way the real world works (or fails to work, as the case may be). 

Different issue

I don't think you can analogize this to the aftermath of a Superior Court proceding. There, the woman's First Amendment rights clearly have primacy unless the ex files and successfuly pursues a defamation claim in civil court. Here, in a situation involving a college campus, we're dealing with the tricky interaction of the First Amendment with the body of "hostile environment" rules that grew up initially to prevent the harassment of racial minorities. UNC being a public university, it does have to respect the First Amendment, but there's still a balancing of interests that takes place. Were this a private university -- Duke, say -- the administration could put much more weight on the hostile-environment end of the scale and take a position contrary to yours.

Mark Chilton's picture

What message?

What concerns me is the possibility that UNC may end up sending a message to future rape victims along these lines: Your case will be heard in our star chamber and if your attacker is acquitted then you must remain silent of be punished for speaking out. I think that would be a major dis-incentive to reporting sexual assaults/rapes.  Please, please tell me that we are all at least in agreement that it is already hard enough for sexual aussalt/rape victims to come forward.

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Speaking out or keeping quiet

I think this is one of the key points here. I read the DTH article today about how the poor guy is suffering from PTSD because UNC tried to kick him out and made it so hard for him to get back into school. And if half the things in that article are true, then UNC should probably reform that system ALONG WITH THE SEXUAL ABUSE REPORTING systems. It seems like his case ought to be against UNC, not Ms. Gambill. I don't think there's any argument about whether the ex-boyfriend was abusive (and frankly, it seems highly likely that he was worse than that). If this is allowed to stand, it's hard to see how future victims of sexual assault won't just keep their troubles to theselves, leading to more impunity for assaulters and a lack of support for survivors. If there are more facts that would help us understand this bizarre action by the honor court, I think the campus community deserves to know them, just as they would in a proper criminal trial. Otherwise the honor court is absolutely fostering an environment of tolerance toward assault and blaming of victims. If they don't want to do this, they need to make their concerns clear. Not only do I think the Mayor is right in this case, I also appreciate him speaking out as a man, an attorney, a UNC alumn, and a civic leader. I wish more campus leaders would follow his example.

George C's picture

Am I Missing Something?

Without taking a position in suppport of or against either Ms. Gambill or her ex-boyfriend can someone please explain to me why an Honor Court is involved in issues such as these.  As best I could I looked up the documents describing the UNC honor Court system and it appears that most cases are decided by a hearing by 5 of its members.  A finding of guilt only requires 3 of the 5 votes.Thus, if I am reading this correctly, the vote of a single person can have an enormous effect on the life of one or more people.  A single person, who may or may not have the experience, the demeanor, or on that particular day the emotional state to make a life-altering decision.  This process seems completely out of kilter to me.  Does this make any sense?

University Hearings Board

Ms. Gambill's accusations were heard by a University Hearings Board, composed of 2 students, 2 faculty, and 1 administrator. The Hearings Board is invoked by the Student Attorney General and the VC for Student Affairs for several reasons, including one in which medical or psychological conditions make it inappropriate for the regular Honor Court.The details can be found on p. 39 of this document:http://studentconduct.unc.edu/sites/studentconduct.unc.edu/files/Fall201... 

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Why attack the survivor?

Thanks for the clarifrication. This doesn't change my point that the young man's case is against UNC for their treatment of him, not Ms. Gambil for speaking out against sexual assault.

No attacks

The point I have been trying to make is that the public should not be taking sides by labelling either one of these individuals. Read the nastiness on the DTH pages. That's not helping either individual's case, and it does IMHO put future victims in more jeopardy of being ignored or mistreated.We can discuss how to handle sexual assualt on campus and in town (and we should!) without using any names or speaking directly to this particular situation. 

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Honor Court charge

I'm referring to the UNC Honor Court charge against Ms. Gambill for "intimidating" her ex-boyfriend. If he's having a hard time now, that's more UNC's fault (and likely his own) than her fault for just talking about it (and not even naming him).

Honor Court

The way the Honor Court works is that an individual (student, faculty, or administrator) makes a charge. Are you saying that you think the Honor Court, a student-run organization, should refuse to accept the young man's charge?  

Truth?.

The way I read the Instrument of Student Self-governance (Honor Code) it seems to prohibit intimidation/harassment without regard to the truthfulness of the purportedly intimidating/harassing statements, which seems to imply that a student who speaks publicly about who raped her would probably be violating the Honor Code even in cases where she had successfully proved that she was raped by the person she identified.  Doesn't that seem troubling to you? 

Do you really think that is a realistic situation?

Do you really think the University is going to admit someone who has been proven to be a rapist without having served their time in prison? Seems a little farfetched to me and indicative of the extremes this conversation is going to.The question on the table here is how to balance the rights of two individuals who have differing stories, and what mechanisms are acceptable for weighing the evidence. I agree with George that the student judicial system is the wrong place for rape and several other of the types of crimes listed in the Honor Court document. That change has already been made, although most of us don't understand how it is handled now.In the past, it's always been the man's word that was taken to the psychological and sometimes physical detriment of the woman. Going to the opposite extreme and believing the woman to the ruination of the man's future just doesn't seem like progress to me, or at least, it's not the progress toward equality that I've hoped to experience.

George C's picture

My point remains the same.

Terri,You provided a link to the same document I had accessed.  The point I was trying to make is in regards to: " In order to find a student guilty, at least 3 of the 5 members must vote guilty."  So it is still possible that an accused person's innocence or guilt is decided by one single person's vote under this scenario.  I think this format for such serious cases is seriously questionable.

I think it's different

I hope that presumption of innocence is also respected by the general populace, knowing full well that family and friends on either side of an issue will always take their loved ones side, sometimes even when there is very clear evidence to the contrary.In the example you give, the man and ex-wife are 1) divorced and 2) not living in dorms on a college campus. Those conditions make it very different in my mind. First, the divorce gives context. Second, the case was conducted in public through the court system. Third, the impact of their relationship is between them and their families--it doesn't draw in thousands of students living in the two dorms, attending the same classes, etc. It's a specific instance of possible domestic abuse and everyone (men and women) who have been in such circumstances will have their prejudices. But in this case, the incidence of rape on campus impacts everyone on campus from students to faculty to administrators to staff to alumni to local citizens. This doesn't put the accused in jeopardy of being outcase by anyone who has previous experience with domestic abuse--it puts him in jeopardy of being outcast by everyone around him.I'm not surprised by her use of the word rapist. Why are members of the general public taking such firm stances on either side, as if they know exactly what happened? Tradition? Assumptions? Prejudices? The public response has just been too reactionary for my comfort level. On the other hand, I've felt for decades that the prevalence of rape would not decline until men made it their issue too. Now I'm seeing the flip side--be careful of what you wish for.

Mark, you are my mayor and I

Mark, you are my mayor and I am almost always proud of you, and nearly always agree with you. In this instance, however, I feel like you are being a little knee-jerk.  You (and most of the rest of us) have heard one side of a clearly complex story.  You demanded the sort of public statement by someone who is unable to comment publicly -- the kind of demand that is prohibited here on OP, by the way.

 The "jezebel.com" article -- an odd source to consider stone-cold truth, FWIW -- posts exceprts from an email.  Why did they not post the entire email?  Was it their decision, or is it what they were given by the student? What do you think preceeded the "Accordingly," paragraph?

 If someone/something from the University -- say, the DTH editorial board, which rountinely (almost as a matter of course) swoops in and is all-to-willing to pass judgment on local governments based on incomplete or out-of-context facts -- came at you in the same way that you came at a graduate student, wouldn't you think less of them/him/her/it?

And Ruby, since you're clearly willing to post anonymous comments in this thread, I hope you will allow this one which is respectful, complies with all board rules, etc., even though it may (or may not) conflict with your personal opinion on the subject.

[Ed note: We will allow this one, but generally comments that refer to others by name ought to be signed with one's own name.] 

Mark Chilton's picture

Calm down and read the letter

First, I think you are the one jumping to conclusions, not me.  I am still trying to decide what I really think about the particulars of this case. You are reading way too much into my letter because you have strong feelings about this incident.Second, I addressed Ms. Ireland because she is the one who is portrayed in a negative light in the Jezebel article and because I felt that she ought to respond.  Nothing in my letter implies that I believe all aspects of the Jezebel article.  Indeed the purpose of the letter was to ask whether one particular part of the article was correct."You demanded the sort of public statement by someone who is unable to comment publicly -- the kind of demand that is prohibited here on OP, by the way." Third, I didn't demand an answer on OP. I copied onto OP an email that I had sent to Ms. Ireland.  And in any case, please take another look at the letter and read the actual words I wrote. To my way of thinking "could you please clarify" is hardly a "demand."  I think most people would call it a polite request, rather than a demand.Fourth, my letter also acknowledges the fact that Ms. Ireland is not able to speak to the specific facts of the case and for that reason my letter doesn't ask her about that case.  It asks about the larger question of when a rape report would amount to an Honor Code violation.Fifth, I am not "coming at" Ms. Ireland. I asked her a question, politely. And even if I had been on the attack, which I was not, I don't think it is fair to cloak the Graduate Student Attorney General as being some poor innocent student.  Ms. Ireland is a 3rd year law student who is probably 6 months away from being a licensed attorney.  It seems extremely naive to think that one can serve as a high ranking official of student government and expect to be treated as anything but a public figure who may find himself or herself at the cetner of public controversy.In conclusion, far from assuming that everything on Jezebel was correct, I wrote to the person at the center of the controversy and politely asked her to clarify the terms of the UNC Honor Code.  She wisely chose to defer to VC Winston Crisp to respond and I found the response useful.  I don't see how anything I wrote amounts to an attack on Ms. Ireland (or anyone else).

A better question ...

... is whether UNC or any other major school should have a student-run Honor Court, versus putting discplinary matters in the hands of trained administrators. I've noted that federal judges, when campus-discipline matters blow up into real-court cases, tend to give very short shrift to what goes on in a student court. To me that's always begged the question of why such issues aren't placed before professionals right from the start.

George C's picture

You mean...

we should question whether young, probably untrained adults who might not be able to even legally buy alcohol should be making decisions that could significantly impact another person for the rest of their life?  Since when should rationality be part of the governance process?

gercohen's picture

from the Yackety-Yack and DiPhi

student control over honor violations dates back to 1795 1970:"The powers of the student courts have, perhaps, the most tradition and consequence of any held by Student Government. The concept of a student judiciary which may impose real penal- ties on those found guilty of violating the Honor Code and Campus Code is the example most often given of the students' powers of self-government at the University. The controversy over the Disruption Policy and the problem of double jeopardy have shown that these powers are not absolute nor are the courts and students the final au- thority on what actions a student may be penalized for by the University."even older The "Di" and the "Phi" were formed in 1795, just months after the University opened, by students who wanted to polish their speaking abilities. Gradually, the Societies expanded their scope to include public readings in contemporary literature (since no English curriculum existed at that time), and socials like the Commencement Ball.  Professors soon found it easier to entrust student discipline to the societies than try to enforce it themselves. Thus, by the 1820s, the Di and Phi were, in effect, UNC's student government, and every new student was obliged to join one or the other. I had the "honor" of serving on the Student Supreme Court a year or two while in law school in the early 70s, we heard appeals from honor court proceedings, none of which stick in my mind anymore, except that students took things seriously 

George C's picture

Taking things seriouslly...

doesn't necessarily equate with getting things right.  While there may be exceptions (almost certainly are), I can't help but believe that life experience helps in making many decisions and undergraduate students obviously have limited amounts of such.  I'm sure that the students serving on such honor courts get invaluable experience doing so but the question is, at whose expense?  I can think back upon one encounter I had with a dean (not at UNC) and I'm certainly glad it was a dean who recognized that youthful, freshman exuberance that might have gone too far requires punishment to fit the 'crime'.  I'm not sure a student honor court (which we didn't have) would have handled the situation in such a fair and even-handed manner.

Jury duty

Everyone who is registered to vote and who holds a drivers' license is eligible to serve on a jury. If they are deemed mature enough to serve on a jury for what could be a capital offense, I think they should be expected to staff the Honor Court when the offense pertains to academic issues and some behavioral conduct. However, there are some offenses that belong in the full court system (rape, drunk driving, carrying a weapon). http://studentconduct.unc.edu/sites/studentconduct.unc.edu/files/Fall201... 

George C's picture

Does a honor court...

have 12 members?  The difference in serving on a public jury is that a single opinion only carries a certain amount of weight in that situation.  So an 'outlying' opinion is tempered by that of the other 5 or 11 jurors (depending on the situation).  And the 'defendant',through their legal representation, has at least some say in who is going to judge them.  I'm sorry, but I can't begin to equate a university honor court with a public  judicial jury system.  I just don't see the 'accused' having the same sort of protections.

Structural vs maturity

Your original post wasn't about the structural design of the court but about the maturity of the individuals who sit on it. Those are two very different issues in my mind. I was responding to your sentiment: "I can't help but believe that life experience helps in making many decisions and undergraduate students obviously have limited amounts of such." 

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Great question!

Many of us townies are also alums. Our concern for what goes on is pretty clear in those cases. We are also neighbors, friends, and colleagues of people who work and study on campus. In addition, there is no Chapel Hillian who isn't ipacted my UNC's policy decisions about development, enrollment, big revenue athletics, transit funding, environmental issues, and yes definitely public safety among many more.The list of things I'm disgusted with just keeps growing this year.

  • The disgrace of the department from which I got my minor in 1993.
  • The academic disgrace of the basketball team for which I cheer.
  • The cover-up of over 60 sexual assaults.
  • The treatment of Melinda Manning who tried to do something about the above.
  • The treatment of Landen Gambill.
  • And yes, the resignation of Chancellor Thorp in an environment of right-wing anti-intellectualism in Raleigh and crazy sports boosters/donors who didn't like him exposing their scandals. (I know he should have done better in the bullet points above, but now we'll never get a chance to make him do it.)
Mark Chilton's picture

Can someone help me

Can someone help me understand what the procedure is at UNC when a person reports a rape?  From recent events, it sounds as though UNC has some sort of admistrative method for investigating such cases and, if the accused is a UNC student, an additional administrative procedure for determining what action the University should take against the accused.Here's my question: What is the role of the UNC campus police in such cases?  Does Campus Safety pursue such cases through the Orange Chatham District Attorney?

Facts of the Gambill Case

Can someone please direct me to where I can find out the facts of the Gambill case?  I was discussing it with a friend and have been looking all over the interwebs but could not find anywhere that lists the timeline of events, the nature of the charges, etc.  Some sources list the charge as "rape" while others as "sexual assault" and others as "physical and verbal abuse" and "stalking" or "harrassment."  Which is correct?  I would appreciate either a helpful link or an explanation of what has actually gone down.From what I have read so far it seems that the original charge that Gambill filed was NOT rape.  Thus referring to her ex-boyfriend as a "rapist," as she has publically done in the last few weeks, would be problematic and possibly illegal.  If this is not the case then I would appreciate someone correcting me. Thanks. 

Thanks, but still fuzzy on details.

I appreciate the link, which does illuminate the timeline a little further.  Unfortunately I still haven't seen it reported anywhere what the "sexual misconduct" charge specifically entailed.  I don't know if it's confidential or not, but it seems like much-needed information before anyone can reasonably develop an informed opinion on the matter.  I'll try and remain skeptically balanced until further knowledge appears.

Ruby Sinreich's picture

Mayor Chilton's letter

Well it sounds like Vice Chancellor Crisp's reponse to Mark Chilton's letter (see above) is being used to support a lawsuit by Landen Gambill against UNC for attempting to intimidate her!

The attorney alleges that UNC administrators are trying to discredit Gambill, citing emails from Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp to Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton in which Crisp says he knows of "no circumstances where the good faith report of a rape would result in Honor Code Charges.""Mr. Crisp's not-so-subtle, and profoundly inappropriate, implication was that Ms. Gambill's allegations were false and made in bad faith," Turner wrote.

- http://www.wral.com/apnewsbreak-unc-student-files-intimidation-charge/12...

Mayor Chilton (who IS an attorney) may not have meant to make himself part of this case, but I'm glad he did. 

Mark Chilton's picture

Sigh

This situation is so, so hard.

I think Mr. Turner is going for the most pessimistic interpretation possible of Winston Crisp's email. I hope that Mr. Crisp's point was that this honor court charge stems from something other than the victim's report of an (alleged) rape. If the issue were an allegation of bad faith in the reporting, then the Honor Court charge would logically be about lying (which is an Honor Code issue). But instead the charge
is about 'harassment.'

Given that the charge is (supposed) harassment, I assume that the issue is not "good faith" but rather that this victim did more than report what happened to her. The issue would therefore appear to be her public discussion of the events that led to this point. That is, the issue is that she publicly semi-identified the person she accused.

Personally, I see no problem with her semi-identifying him (or even out-right naming him). And that if he so strongly believes that his reputation has been injured by her semi-public accusations that he should use the NC General Court of Justice to pursue the issue so that all of us could have confidence in the public consideration of evidence - sworn testimony- about what happened.

Instead he has apparently chosen to simultaneously claim that his reputation is injured, while protecting his (supposedly compromised) identity by pursuing the matter behind the veil of secrecy provided by the Honor Court's star chamber proceedings. In effect the Honor Court is providing him with the sword of the court room and the shield of secrecy, when a true commitment to justice demands the opposite- the protection of her identity and the public consideration of the accusations against him.

"...[I]f he so strongly

"...[I]f he so strongly believes that his reputation has been injured by her semi-public accusations that he should use the NC General Court of Justice to pursue the issue so that all of us could have confidence in the public consideration of evidence - sworn testimony- about what happened."Interesting that you don't have the same advice for the young woman involved. 

Agreed.  I have written the

Agreed.  I have written the UNC-CH Board of Trustees chair and the UNC Board of Governors chair to very strongly recommend that any criminal allegations received on campus in the future be immediately referred to the appropriate legal authorities.  Anything else smells of Penn State.

Mark Chilton's picture

I asked one of my contacts

I asked one of my contacts at UNC about this, herewego: can you help me understand something about how UNC's rape reporting/handling work? Specifically this: Do these cases come before the DA? Or do they always get handled solely internally to UNC? She wrote back: Great question! It is up to the survivor what they want to do in terms of reporting. If they choose to report to the police, they can also go through the university process. Very few students elect to do so. The student can elect just to go through the university process. The reality is that most choose neither option-due to fears of not being believed.