After a five-year federal investigation into UNC’s policies and practices dealing with sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights found the University in violation of Title IX.
The investigation was triggered by four former UNC students along with Melinda Manning, a former UNC administrator, who filed a complaint back in 2013. Manning, along with fellow complainants Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, appeared in the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about sexual assault on college campuses.
Five years after the initial complaint, the OCR has identified the University’s violation and agreed with UNC on terms to correct these practices.
In the OCR’s response to the above-listed complainants, the OCR “identified compliance concerns and a violation regarding the University’s compliance with Title IX.”
Among these are concerns about the University’s outdated website information, inability to provide a prompt and equitable resolution of complaints of discrimination, lack of notice to students on where complaints may be filed and unequal opportunity for only one party to appeal.
“During the course of its investigation, OCR recognizes that the University has been proactive regarding its efforts to maintain a campus environment free from discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct, including sexual violence and sexual assault, including through strengthening its Title IX response policies, procedures, resources, and outreach,” the OCR said in the investigation.
The OCR commented on the University’s cooperation throughout the investigation, saying that the institution is working to correct its Title IX procedures and policies.
“For example, the University has taken numerous steps to improve its response to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, by regularly reviewing and revising its written policies and procedures.” the OCR said in the investigation.
Without admitting to any violation of law, UNC agreed to implement a resolution agreement in response to the investigation.
In a statement, Carol Folt listed the five actions that the university agreed to take in order to improve the University’s Title IX program. These actions included giving clear notice about their sexual harassment and discrimination policies, providing a more refined description of the voluntary informal resolution process and providing links to descriptions of appeal procedures.
“Nothing is more important to us than creating a culture at Carolina where every member of our campus community feels safe, supported and respected,” Folt said in the statement, “While this concludes the OCR investigation, it does not conclude our commitment.”
Pino, one of the former students who filed the complaint, tweeted out, “I love UNC & I will always hold my university accountable. Every student deserves that college experience they promise us. My hope is that the incoming class of 2022 will have it, & that #TitleIX will be in place to protect them. It’s been 5 years & I’m ready to keep fighting.”
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