CHAPEL HILL: UNC changes sexual violence policy - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

UNC changes sexual violence policy after student complaints

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which had been rocked by allegations that it did not do enough for women who were sexually assaulted, announced a new policy on sexual violence Thursday, the school announced in a statement.

The school said the policy, which also covers discrimination, harassment and related misconduct, interpersonal violence and stalking, lays out the types of conduct prohibited by the university and clarifies key terms such as “consent.”

The issue has been an important one at UNC, with the federal government announcing in 2013 that it was investigating how the school reports sexual assaults. That investigation is still open, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In January 2013, several women, including a former assistant dean, called for an investigation into what they called an atmosphere of "sexual violence."

In 2013, UNC sophomore Landen Gambill said that after a sexual assault, "I didn't sleep, didn't eat, felt really anxious all the time." 

Also, junior Andrea Pino, another victim of sexual assault, said, "Violence is happening at UNC. No one is talking about it, and because no one is talking about it students don't feel empowered to report it." 

Carolina responded with a 22-member task force – comprising students, faculty, staff and a community member – that reviewed Carolina's processes and made recommendations.

“The Carolina community is steadfast in their dedication to addressing this major issue. The policy is part of a comprehensive, thoughtful approach to addressing sexual violence and is a critical component of our commitment to student well-being,” Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a statement. “We are not done – we will continue to identify ways to provide a safe place to learn and work.”

According to UNC, the new policy;

· Clearly identified support and resource options.

· Distinguishes among the forms of prohibited conduct: discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, interpersonal (relationship) violence, stalking, complicity for knowingly assisting in an act that violates the policy and retaliation.

· Contains more comprehensive definitions for terms such as “consent” to sexual contact and “incapacitation” where alcohol or drug use is involved.

· Revises the process for both reporting and responding parties and increases overall efficiency. Students will not serve in an adjudicating role, the school said.

Carolina created a website to help the campus community understand the policy. The university will provide training sessions beginning during the month of September about the policy and reporting responsibilities for those individuals who are required to report incidents that are potential violations.

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