Sexual Assault Policy Task Force Update

By Rachel Nash Posted June 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Pictured: Christy Lambden

CHAPEL HILL – UNC’s recently assembled Title IX task force, charged with re-designing the University’s sexual assault policy, met Wednesday for the group’s third meeting so far.

Student Body President Christy Lambden is a member of the group that is dealing with sensitive, and at times, uncomfortable issues. He says they are making headway, though.

“We’re really starting to delve into what we want the policy to look like in the future,” Lambden said.

Lambden is serving along side 21 others from the UNC community, including LGBTQ Director Terri Phoenix, Deputy Chief of the Department of Public Safety, George Hare, and Director of Counseling and Wellness Services, Allen O’Barr.

Christi Hurt, UNC’s new Interim Title IX Coordinator, is the chair of the task force; she’s currently on leave as director of the Carolina Women’s Center.

“It’s a great group to be working with. It’s a diverse group with diverse opinions—but I think that’s exactly what this process needs,” Lambden said.

Gina Smith, a former prosecutor whom Chancellor Holden Thorp recruited in January, is also working with the task force. She’s helping the University sort through the sexual misconduct investigations.

The necessity to review the University’s policies came about after students and faculty members filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights this year. They claimed that the University underreported sexual assault cases, which sparked a federal investigation into the accusations. The task force will follow guidance from the Office for Civil Rights and build on the recommendations of Smith.

The task force meets weekly throughout the summer. Hurt says there’s no defined timeline for when the process will conclude, but she hopes the group can have the new policy in place by the start of the fall semester.

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