UNC to suspend Honor Court proceeding pending external review of retaliation claim
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp today (March 26) announced that the student-led Honor System has been asked to suspend an Honor Court proceeding involving a student who has spoken out about sexual assault issues on campus.
In connection with that case, Thorp said campus officials understand that a claim of retaliation may be filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against the University.
“For several weeks, the University has grappled with how best to respond to a public claim of retaliation against the University while maintaining the autonomy and integrity of our Honor Court proceedings and the privacy of the individuals involved,” Thorp wrote in an open letter to students, faculty and staff.
“Recognizing the potential conflicts that may exist by allowing both processes to continue, we have asked the Student Attorney General to suspend the Honor Court proceeding pending an external review of these allegations of retaliation. The University takes all allegations of retaliation seriously, whether against an individual or an institution, and this allegation is no exception.”
Thorp also invoked the Carolina community’s long tradition of encouraging students to exercise their right to speak out. To read the chancellor’s campus message, refer to https://campusconversation.web.unc.edu/2013/03/26/message-from-the-chancellor032613/.
The University has made significant changes to its policies in recent years and brought in Gina Smith, a national expert on sexual assault issues, to help lead campus conversations to help further strengthen the University’s current response to sexual assault. Those discussions are ongoing.
The Office for Civil Rights has emphasized its role as a ‘neutral fact-finder’ engaged in collecting and analyzing evidence from the complainants, the University and other sources.
Thorp has called sexual assault one of the greatest challenges facing college campuses nationwide, including Carolina.
Campus Conversation on Sexual Assault website: http://campusconversation.web.unc.edu/
Key Facts, FAQ, Background on Sexual Assault Complaints, Reporting Options, Campus & Community Resources & the Honor System: http://tinyurl.com/dytox4x
UNC response to Office for Civil Rights request: http://tinyurl.com/bms7asd