Slaying the Messenger?


Slaying the Messenger?
February 26, 2013 - 3:00am
By Allie Grasgreen

Landen Gambill took an unusual step after she was sexually assaulted.

She reported it.

Unusual why? Because the vast majority of rapes go unreported.

But now Gambill is the one on trial. The student-run Honor Court at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill informed her last week that it’s charging her with violation of the Honor Code under a statute prohibiting “Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another…. so as to adversely affect their academic pursuits, opportunities for university employment, participation in university-sponsored extracurricular activities, or opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life.”

Gambill has spoken about the assault in different media outlets, but she’s never publicly identified the perpetrator by name. And last month, half a year after the University of North Carolina’s student-run Honor Court determined her case lacked sufficient evidence to punish her former boyfriend – who Gambill and others said repeatedly abused her verbally and sexually – she, along with 64 other survivors and a former dean of students, filed a complaint with the U.S. Education Department over UNC’s handling of Gambill’s case and others.

I’ve hesitated about posting this. In one sense, it could be claimed that the rape case has been “adjudicated”, but not by a proper trial court, and by a process that is often variously hostile to males and rigged to protect athletes (depending on the university and circumstance). Maybe this really was a false accusation (though the lengths Gambill is enduring suggests otherwise). Real or false, the university, however, is trying to punish Gambill for daring to use entirely legal means to further her claim. That is a problem, IMO, and if this stands, a means of retaliating against whistleblowers.