In December 2012, two UNC female victims of sexual assault spoke up about what they said was a deeply rooted problem with the University’s handling of sexual misconduct — one that they said was inappropriate, time-consuming and traumatic. Those allegations drove three current students, one former student and one former administrator to file a complaint against the University with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleging that UNC facilitated a hostile environment for victims reporting sexual assault.
The complaint, which was obtained by The Daily Tar Heel, is centrally concerned with the way the University treats victims of sexual assault. The 34-page document also features allegations that the Office of University Counsel pressured Melinda Manning, former assistant dean of students, to underreport cases of sexual assault.
The University, though limited in its response because UNC has not yet received the complaint, countered Manning’s accusations. Administrators claimed that the University actually reported more cases of sexual assault than Manning submitted to the University Counsel’s office. These accusations by sexual assault victims have since sparked a widespread conversation about the way sexual assault is handled on campus. The University has hired Gina Maisto Smith, a national consultant and expert on sexual assault.
To help bring the University into compliance with the Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letter, the University has also hired Ew Quimbaya-Winship to serve as UNC’s Deputy Title IX Officer, or student complaint coordinator, starting March 11.