Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Tuesday that he has asked the student-led Honor Court to suspend the trial of sophomore Landen Gambill and her ex-boyfriend, pending an external review of Gambill’s repeated claims that the University is retaliating against her.
The statement comes just one day after Gambill’s lawyer, Henry Clay Turner, sent a letter to UNC demanding that Thorp drop charges against Gambill — which were brought by her ex-boyfriend, the man she has publicly accused of rape. In the letter, Turner added that Gambill will not participate in the Honor Court hearing.
“The University takes all allegations of retaliation seriously, whether against an individual or an institution, and this allegation is no exception,” Thorp wrote in an email to the University community Tuesday.
Turner said in his letter that Gambill filed a claim of retaliation with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Monday, citing that UNC punished her for speaking out about how UNC handled her sexual assault trial, which was heard in the spring of 2012.
Gambill was charged Feb. 22 with a conduct violation of the University’s Honor Code that claims she engaged in disruptive or intimidating behavior against her ex-boyfriend.
For nearly a month, Gambill has publicly spoken out about alleged retaliation from the University.
Thorp said in Tuesday’s email that he has grappled with the best way to respond to the public claim of retaliation while maintaining the autonomy and integrity of the historically student-led Honor Court.
“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 or retaliation,” Thorp said in the email.
The Honor Court traditionally has customarily had complete jurisdiction over all matters of student conduct, said Undergraduate Student Attorney General Amanda Claire Grayson in a previous interview.