UNC Student Faces Punishment For Speaking Out Against Sexual Assault Attacker
In the spring of 2012, Landen Gambill, a sophomore at UNC, told the Honor Court she was assaulted repeatedly by her ex-boyfriend. Sexual assault cases have been removed from the Honor Court’s jurisdiction as of the summer of 2012.
Last month, she filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against the University. Gambill and four others claimed that Carolina acted with insensitivity and carelessness when handling these cases.
Later, she told the Daily Tar Heel that speaking out about how UNC handled the case caused her ex-boyfriend to file a complaint that stated she negatively affected his future at Carolina; the Honor Court’s student attorney general has charged her with engaging in disruptive or intimidating behavior against him.
The Honor Court is a student-run process that has the ability to consult with a faculty advisory committee if necessary. However, UNC spokesperson Karen Moon says administrators may not encourage or prevent the Student Attorney Generals from filing charges in a specific case.
Gambill told the DTH she plans to plead not guilty to the charges. The Honor Court could issue a punishment of any level including up to expulsion, as the charges do not carry a set punishment.
On Tuesday, more than 200 students gathered at the Campus Y in support of dropping the charges against Gambill. The University recently released a statement that says the charges did not stem strictly from her explanation of the sexual assault, but the continued coverage that has brought increasing attention to the accused.
Other than Moon, officials at UNC were not available to comment on this matter; Gambill has not replied to repeated attempts of contact by WCHL.
There’s still some dispute, meanwhile, about what the Honor Code violation would entail. According to an article on the national blog Jezebel.com, Gambill “asked whether she could have violated the Honor Code simply by saying she was raped (and) the answer was yes.” But in an email response to an open letter from Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp said that merely making an allegation of rape would never constitute an Honor Code violation—and if a student were charged with doing so, the University “certainly would not allow or support any charge of that nature.” (Chilton posted that exchange on the OrangePolitics blog; you can read the full exchange there.)