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UNC's General Counsel Leslie Strohm to leave for Louisville

Leslie Strohm

Leslie Strohm

Strohm, who will take on a similar position at the University of Louisville, has run UNC’s general counsel office for more than 11 years.

“When U of L signaled that it was ready to extend an offer, I respectfully requested that it wait until the Wainstein report was released,” Strohm said in an email. “I wanted to be here to support Chancellor Folt through the end of the Wainstein review process.”

But those who have been on the other side of a University lawsuit say her office is reluctant to make policy changes.

Mary Willingham, the former athletic learning specialist suing the University for creating a hostile working environment, said Strohm’s office fails students by not protecting their academic integrity.

“It’s pretty clear now that the general counsel was a part of the cover-up (of the athletic scandal),” Willingham said, saying Strohm’s office first investigated UNC’s athletic-academic scandal, but did not unearth the biggest pieces of information that were brought forward in the Wainstein report.

“I voiced my concern (in 2013) that we still weren’t getting to the truth with our academics and athletics. They should have uncovered the truth. The truth is in the transcripts — it’s that simple.”

Andrea Pino, who filed a federal complaint against the University for its handling of her sexual assault case with four others in 2013, said Strohm’s office initially resisted changing the University’s sexual assault policy.

“We knew that when it would get to Leslie’s office it wouldn’t move from there,” Pino said. “Until the complaint was filed, there was never any talk of policy changes — it was set in stone.”

Pino said Strohm’s office viewed her complaint as an attack on the University, not a way to better the campus.

“It did become an ‘us versus them’ scenario,” she said.

In a campuswide email from Chancellor Carol Folt, Strohm is leaving for a chance to grow in new areas of higher education administration at a university close to where she calls home.

“I will announce plans soon for interim leadership of that office and launch a national search,” Folt said in the email.

Strohm said her office advises clients on more than 300 matters each week.

“I have been working more than 30 years, and this is the finest team of legal professionals — and people — I have ever known,” Strohm said. “I am immensely proud of the Office of University Counsel and all the work that we do.”

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