Charges of misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor sexual battery against UNC football player Allen Artis have been dismissed.
Artis, now a senior, was challenged last September by a UNC student who held a news conference to assert that she had been sexually assaulted by another student at Carolina in February 2016 and that the University had not handled the case appropriately. The then-sophomore, Delaney Robinson, also said she had notified the University’s Title IX office and reported the assault to UNC police.
She swore out warrants in the Orange County magistrate’s office, charging Artis. At the time, her lawyer said the charges resulted from the police and the University not taking action against Artis.
Artis was suspended from the football team immediately. Orange District Attorney James Woodall ’82 (’85 JD) said at the time he had not decided whether to file charges; Artis eventually was charged.
Woodall filed a dismissal on June 29, and Artis’ lawyer, Kerry Sutton ’96 of Durham, said: “Today, Mr. Artis is happy to tell you that those charges have been dismissed against him and that he is no longer under any threat or criminal prosecution or any problems with the school. The Title IX issues are gone.”
The News & Observer reported that “the issue had been ‘resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.’ ”
Athletics Director Bubba Cunningham told the newspaper that Artis was eligible for reinstatement to the team. He is listed as a senior on the football roster.
Woodall’s dismissal was not specific to the terms of the resolution.
The student’s allegations were reported widely in national media, and the University responded in September with an acknowledgement of the allegations that said it is “deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously.”
Carolina in 2012 came under investigations by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, the result of complaints brought by two then-current students and an alumna, who say they were raped; a former administrator in student affairs; and a woman who remains anonymous. UNC was one of the starting points of what now is a network of assault victims across the country who have called out their schools on what they see as often poorly focused, overworked and inadequately trained counselors, investigators, health care providers, police and adjudicators in uncoordinated patchworks of offices and agencies.
Also in 2012, the University put in place a revised policy on sexual violence. The policy describes the types of conduct prohibited by the University, offers clarity on key terms — such as “consent” and “incapacitation” — and aims to create a more easily navigable adjudication process for cases that go to hearings.
The status of the Office of Civil Rights’ investigations — and those of hundreds of others — is not known, although there have been indications that the administration of President Donald Trump might not pursue such cases aggressively. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 337 colleges and universities currently are being investigated for possible mishandling of reports of sexual violence.