In September 2010, a female UNC student said that she walked into a planned sexual assault by two UNC football players, one of whom she was casually dating.
She said she managed to escape and ran back to her room, feeling traumatized. She immediately called campus police, but she said what happened next left her feeling even more lost.
The female student, who wished to remain anonymous, has since transferred to another university. She told The Daily Tar Heel that she felt as if campus police didn’t take her case seriously. Her case was classified as an attempted sexual assault in a heavily redacted police report.
The female student said she was told the case wasn’t worth pursuing in criminal court. She said she felt as if the fact that her alleged assaulters were athletes biased the officers against her.
“(An officer) looked me in the face and said that they didn’t do anything wrong, and I should settle for an apology,” the female student said. “I felt blamed. (It was like), ‘They’re athletes, why are you doing this to them?’”
Feeling pressured, she asked to stop the investigation. No charges were filed.
Her case highlights the question of what role campus police should play in sexual assault cases — a question that has become increasingly relevant as universities nationwide seek to reform their sexual assault policies.
UNC has been criticized for its handling of sexual assault cases, with three federal complaints pending in the U.S. Department of Education. The complaints allege that UNC has violated sexual assault victims’ rights and created a hostile environment for students who report sexual assault.
Scott Berkowitz, president of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, said campus police need to take rape more seriously.