University officials put together May 1 a 21-member task force “to review and enhance its policies and procedures for handling student-on-student complaints of harassment, sexual misconduct or discrimination.”
The task force has been given a unique opportunity for reform, and with that comes a serious responsibility. Its members have an obligation to take the lead in calling for an overhaul in the way UNC handles complaints of sexual assault.
Their deliberations should be public. They should consider not just tweaks and minor modifications to University policy but comprehensive change.
With their influence, they could initiate a shift in policy to treat rape as the violent crime it is — not as something to be tried and adjudicated only in an academic setting.
Current policies allow victims to pursue legal action in the criminal justice system at the same time as the academic system, but they are treated as distinct and separate processes. Universities should encourage students to involve themselves in both processes — not substitute their own gentle, academic justice for the real thing.