UNC sexual assault policy needs revision

TO THE EDITOR:

On March 10, Andrea Pino was sexually assaulted at UNC by a fellow student.

She was left partially conscious, and could not declare identifying factors of her assailant, but she was able to utilize UNC’s system of anonymous reporting, created in 2009 by another survivor, Annie Clark of the class of 2011.

While at UNC, Annie witnessed the hostility and stigma surrounding reported interpersonal violence and decided that survivors needed another reporting option.

In addition to creating the “Box Project,” she advocated for the interpersonal violence prevention coordinator position and for broad policy change.

Annie approached Dean Melinda Manning in 2010, who was seemingly the only ally wanting to work with her for change.

Now, Andrea has since discovered that the environment and treatment of survivors is not better, but has instead worsened. Annie and Andrea have met survivors who were directly abused by the University case process.

In hearing these stories and others, Annie and Andrea have been made aware that administrators have been silencing survivors, limiting their support, criticizing their accounts and keeping the greater community unaware of the reality of sexual violence at UNC.

These administrators were the principal contributors in the writing of the new sexual misconduct policy.

Exclusive to certain administrators, the policy was written with a lack of input from the informed student body and the administrators who work directly with violence prevention. Isolating allies, the administration has proven it is not willing to realize the damage it is inflicting on our students with current policies on sexual assault.

This culture of silence and deliberate indifference is not isolated to students.

Manning, formerly the only woman in her office and the principal support system for countless survivors, is resigning after enduring a toxic environment within the Office of the Dean of Students.

After years of witnessing these violations, we demand change. Therefore, on behalf of the faculty, student and staff impacted by sexual assault, harassment and discrimination at UNC, Andrea Pino and Annie Clark are submitting a full complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.

UNC administration has violated the equal opportunity mandates under Title IX, including but not limited to: facilitating a hostile environment around students reporting sexual violence, tolerating employment discrimination and retaliation when University employees addressed the above discrimination (violating Title VII) and dismissing medically diagnosed and documented mental disabilities during court procedures, violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It is our duty to come together to demand equality, transparency and justice of our University. We must fight for UNC, and hold our administrators accountable.

Andrea Pino ’14
Project Dinah co-chair

Annie Clark ’11
Former Project Dinah co-chair

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