College sophomore faces honor code violation for speaking out against rapist

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 0:04 EDT
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Lady Justice via Shutterstock
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A sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faces an Honor Court trial for allegedly “intimidating” a fellow student she says raped her.

Landen Gambill and other students filed a federal complaint against UNC last month over its handling of sexual assault cases on campus. Though Gambill never named her alleged attacker, the student has now filed a complaint with the university’s Honor Court against her.

“Obviously, I’m afraid. I never meant to make anyone mad at me [by speaking out],” Gambill told The Huffington Post. “I’m mostly surprised at just how crazy it is, that they’re willing to charge me with something just because my rapist is feeling uncomfortable.”

She could face suspension or expulsion from the university if found guilty.

UNC said late Tuesday that Honor Court charges were decided entirely by students without interference from administrators. The university denied it was retaliating against Gambill for her legal actions against the school.

“We can tell you that the Student Attorneys General, and for many years have had, the authority to decide which cases to consider independent of administrators,” UNC explained in a statement. “Further, administrators may not encourage or prevent the Student Attorneys General from filing charges. When a member of the University community reports an Honor Code violation, the Student Attorneys General determine if the evidence warrants a hearing before the Honor Court under campus policies and procedures.”

The university insisted that students were guaranteed a “fair and impartial hearing” from the Honor Court. However, Gambill has said the student-run judiciary system did a poor job of handling sexual assault cases. She told the Huffington Post she didn’t “have any faith in the honor system at all.”

After Gambill reported being raped, the university told her to go through the Honor Court, which decided the accused rapist was not guilty.

“The whole time in the Honor Court, they were asking me victim-blaming questions, like why I hadn’t left him earlier or why was I ever alone with him, instead of asking him, ‘Why did you do what you did?’” Gambill explained to WRAL.com.

“I was promised I’d be treated fairly in my abuser’s trial. Instead, I was blamed for everything he did to me,” Gambill said in January.

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[Lady Justice via Shutterstock]

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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