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The Daily Tar Heel

Title IX candidate calls for system balance

	Howard Kallem

Howard Kallem

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this story stated that Howard Kallem believes that UNC must build a response system for sexual harassment charges amid what he called the community’s grieving process. He did not mention the community’s grieving process in the forum. The article also stated that Kallem said reverse sexism needs to be stamped out. Kallem said instances of reverse sexism were rare. He also was quoted as saying outside involvement needs to be eliminated altogether for the sanctity of sexual assault cases, but Kallem did not say this. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Howard Kallem believes that UNC must build a response system for sexual harassment charges.

Kallem, a candidate for the University’s Title IX position and the chief regional attorney for the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, spoke at a public forum Friday about his platform for the position.

“I think it’s important to have a procedure in place to give the accused the opportunity to state their case,” Kallem said.

A forum with a third candidate was planned to be held this Wednesday, but it was cancelled after the candidate withdrew.

Kallem said it is essential to maintain neutrality when investigating any case, and no judgment should be made until the truth is revealed.

He said that instances of reverse sexism were rare, and that the accused must be considered innocent until proven otherwise.

Kallem also said the University needs to establish clear ground rules dispelling any sort of retaliation against those accused of harassment.

“Confidentiality is a really big issue and a challenge for schools,” he said.

The committee handed out evaluation forms at the gathering for the attendees to provide their impressions of the candidate.

Junior Zach Bijesse, who attended the forum, said an open meeting was a good way to educate the campus about future employees — but he doesn’t know how his input will affect the University’s choice.

He also said UNC needs to consider more candidates for the position.

“We need a higher standard and more options,” he said. “I think that this is such an incredibly serious issue that we need more than three forums.”

Bijesse said the position needs to be filled by someone who is able to make campus a safer place for students.

“Some of the biggest things would be making sure that campus is safe by creating safe spaces and making sure that people who are filing a complaint are the ones who are being catered to, because they are the victims of these situations,” he said.

Junior Landen Gambill, who co-filed a complaint against the University to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights earlier this year, attended the forum and said UNC needs to select a strong leader for the position.

“We need a Title IX coordinator who is willing to actively and courageously fight rape culture and sexism at UNC,” she said.

“We need someone who is willing to stand up to people who are maintaining oppressive systems here and to stand up for survivors of violence against administrators who are too afraid to.”

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