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Task Force to Review How UNC Handles Sexual Assault Complaints

The University has created a 21-member task force to review and enhance its policies and procedures for handling student-on-student complaints of harassment, sexual misconduct or discrimination.

Ann Penn, the University’s Equal Opportunity/ADA Officer, appointed the task force to review the current policy (campusconversation.web.unc.edu/policy/), which was revised in 2011-12 in response to new guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to colleges and universities nationwide.

“We have assembled a talented group of students, faculty and staff to assist us in this effort,” Penn said. “The task force will follow guidance from the Office for Civil Rights and build on the recommendations of Gina Smith, a national expert on sexual assault issues who has been working with us to gather input and identify opportunities to improve our policy and procedures. Together, we will find the best solutions for Carolina.”

Christi Hurt ’93, who was recently named interim Title IX coordinator and is on leave as director of the Carolina Women’s Center, will chair the task force. Other members are students, faculty, staff and a local expert who bring extensive experience or research expertise related to tackling the emotional and complex issues involving sexual assault.

“The input we’ve received from students and others will be invaluable as we move forward to improve our efforts to address violence, harassment and discrimination on campus,” Hurt said. “We will incorporate that feedback into our review of Carolina’s policy and processes.”

The task force will meet throughout the summer and present its recommendations to Penn. The task force members are, in addition to Hurt:

  • K.E. Akin, graduate student;
  • Kiran Bhardwaj, president of UNC’s Graduate and Professional Student Federation;
  • Sarah-Kathryn Bryan, undergraduate student;
  • Alice Dawson ’72 (AB, ’94 MA, ’04 PhD), senior assistant dean, Academic Advising Program in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Jayne Grandes, investigator, Equal Opportunity/ADA Office;
  • George Hare, deputy chief, Department of Public Safety;
  • Robert Joyce ’73, Charles Edwin Hinsdale Professor of public law and government, UNC School of Government, and chair, Student Grievance Committee;
  • Christy Lambden, student body president;
  • Rebecca Macy, L. Richardson Preyer Distinguished Chair for Strengthening Families, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, School of Social Work;
  • Sandra Martin ’88 (PhD), professor of maternal and child health and associate dean for research, Gillings School of Global Public Health;
  • Laurie Mesibov ’84 (JD), ombuds, University Ombuds Office, and professor of public law and government, School of Government;
  • Allen O’Barr, director, Counseling and Wellness Services;
  • Terri Phoenix, director, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Center;
  • Robert Pleasants, interpersonal violence prevention coordinator, Campus Health Services;
  • Kelli Raker, rape prevention coordinator, Dean of Students Office, Student Affairs;
  • Ew Quimbaya-Winship, deputy Title IX coordinator/student complaint coordinator, Student Affairs;
  • Desiree Rieckenberg, senior associate dean of students, Dean of Students Office, Student Affairs;
  • Kara Simmons ’97, associate university counsel;
  • Anna Sturkey, undergraduate student attorney general, student government’s representative, Committee on Student Conduct and a member of the Sexual Assault Policy Response Team; and
  • Amy Tiemann, community member and a Chapel Hill author and educator focused on issues of parenting, child safety, politics and culture.

Serving ex-officio, in addition to Penn, is Winston Crisp ’92 (JD), vice chancellor for student affairs.

The University said that during the task force’s work, the Campus Conversation about Sexual Assault website (campusconversation.web.unc.edu/) will continue to be updated. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and others may submit ideas to the task force through the site’s virtual suggestion box.

Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 cited the task force announcement by Penn as one more strong indication of progress on this issue in a May 1 campus email to students, faculty and staff (campusconversation.web.unc.edu/2013/05/01/message-from-the-chancellor-update-on-campus-response-to-sexual-assaults/).


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