Third federal probe launched at UNC Chapel Hill

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 09:26 PM

RALEIGH — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now faces a third federal investigation related to sexual assault complaints, this one from a student who says the school retaliated against her for filing an earlier claim.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights will look into whether the university retaliated against Landen Gambill.

Gambill and three other women filed a federal discrimination complaint against UNC-CH for its handling of sexual assault cases. The government is investigating that complaint and one about the university's reporting of sexual assaults under federal law governing campus crime statistics.

She also spoke out at rallies after she accused a fellow student of sexual assault and criticized the university's handling of her case. The male student was found not guilty of sexual misconduct in a 2012 campus judicial hearing but was found responsible for verbal harassment of Gambill.

She was later charged with an honor court offense for intimidating the accused student, whom she didn't name. In June, then-Chancellor Holden Thorp dismissed the charge against Gambill.

The OCR confirmed the investigation in a June 24 letter to Gambill's attorney, Clay Turner. "I've been confident that the OCR was going to conduct a thorough and credible investigation, and I'm happy that that's what they've taken up now," attorney Clay Turner said.

UNC spokeswoman Karen Moon said "the university is reviewing the matter and will cooperate fully with the OCR's investigation."

In the letter to Turner, the OCR said said it would investigate two allegations:

— Whether the university retaliated against Gambill when the honor court charged her with "disruptive or intimidating behavior" against the male student by filing her original discrimination complaint.

— Whether the university retaliated against Gambill when it assigned the male student "to a dormitory in close proximity to (Gambill's) dormitory after he was found to have sexually harassed (Gambill) and subjected to a no-contact order.