A UNC Rape Victim Faces Expulsion

by Evette Dionne

UNCA college sophomore at the University of North Carolina is facing potential expulsion after speaking publicly about her rape and her institution’s lack of response. Landen Gambill will face UNC’s “Honor Court” for being “disruptive” and “intimidating” her rapist by sharing her sexual assault story according to Think Progress.

Gambill has spoken with the media about the lapses in UNC’s rape-reporting hierarchy. She told the Daily Tarheel that reporting her assault to campus police made her feel victimized. “They made it seem like my assault was completely my fault,” she said.

The rape has been spotlighted in a case alleged against the school by a former assistant dean, who’s accusing UNC of under-reporting sexual assaults. It is one of three cases the dean is using as evidence in his claim. Gambill’s inclusion in the case may result in her expulsion.

She received a formal accusation from UNC’s  “Honor Court” on Feb. 22. It read:

“Accordingly, you are being charged with the following Honor Code violation(s):

II.C.1.c. – Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another (other than on the basis of protected classifications identified and addressed in the University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination) 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.

This decision was reached because the evidence provides a reasonable basis to believe that a violation of the Honor Code may have occurred. Please note that being charged with a violation does not imply guilt. It simply means that sufficient evidence of a possible violation exists to warrant a hearing before the Undergraduate Honor Court.”

Here’s where the issue arises: Gambill has never identified her rapist publicly. He is still a UNC student and lives across the street from her. Situations that protect assailants and highlight victims perpetuate rape culture, according to Jessica Valenti, author of Yes Means Yes. “Rape is a standard result of a culture mired in misogyny, but for whatever reason—denial, self-preservation, sexism—Americans bend over backwards to make excuses for male violence,” she explained to The Nation.

Colleges are a central location for the perpetuation of rape culture. Gambill is just the latest in a series of institutional prejudices against rape victims.

  • Marilyn

    It’s so ironic to have come across this article, because I recently saw a movie this past Monday night about rape and one woman’s story left an impact on me because she was a student going who went through a similar situation with Tufts University.

    Yesterday, I announce to everyone on my Facebook status that I experienced attempted rape on a study abroad trip to Paris in the summer of 2010 with Medgar Evers College. Unfortunately, the college did very little to help me or take in account what they were going to do to prevent this from happening to another student.

    Anyhow, I am now ready to go public with this and speak out. I will go on camera if I had to if that’s what’s going to take for Medgar Evers College to take sexual harassment/assault and/or rape or attempted rape seriously.

  • Anon

    Let’s rewind to the 90s when I was student there. I know of a rape incident involving athletes (plural) where the girl, literally, disappeared after trying to report the incident. No one had her back. She had to withdraw a go somewhere else – in silence.

  • Anon

    Please pass this story along about another UNC minority student. She was murdered this past fall and the story has received little media coverage. Her killer is still at large She was a 21 year old scholar and a member of the local Native American tribes.


  • http://stompkinsnc.wordpress.com stompkinsnc

    Progressive Men: The majority of you are actually rapists, whether
    single or married because the majority of you have had sex with your
    wives/GFs who have had 2 alcoholic drinks and therefore had sex with a
    woman who could not have consented. This is typical University policy.
    Why? Because she said so, as in the above case. Additionally, after a
    divorce, when you are summarily handed your rear end in the “women take
    all family courts” and marginalized to that of a visitor and payment
    provider instead of father, we don’t want to hear your whining.
    Progressive Women: When your son’s, brothers, husbands, and fathers are
    called rapists because a woman at work or school says “I was raped, yea I
    know there is no evidence and I refuse to legally identify him but on
    the Internet I will” we don’t want to hear your whining. Oh, your a
    progressive paternal grandmother who sees her grandchildren infrequently
    while the maternal grandmother six states away sees them often because
    of the “women take all family courts”? Sorry, this is progressive
    policy, and you should be ashamed of not agreeing with the war on women. Men and Women in the Family need to learn that Rape and Domestic Violence are prosecuted under “preponderance of the evidence” instead of “innocent until proven guilty” meaning that if a Judge finds “likelihood” of only 50.01% that it happened, then its GUILTY. No evidence or witnesses needed. I see a lot of women screaming about this, but I suspect that many women with sons, brothers, husbands, and fathers would be outraged that a woman claimed rape, refused to call the police, identify her attacker LEGALLY, but is willing to do so on the Internet.

  • Jaslene

    That is usually the case. Same thing happened to a girl at my university, University of Tennessee Chattanooga back in 2005. Unfortunately I was one of those people that didn’t support her intially due to my own ignorance. After speaking to my mom she told me that I need to support these women when these things happen.

  • Jaslene

    She should be nothing short of disruptive and intimidating to the person that raped her. Why do colleges and universities hate their female students and refuse to show us any support.

  • Anthony

    I know campus police have jurisdiction over campus crime, but I think the victim could contact the district attorney and pursue this issue in criminal court, bypassing college. If she did that with help of local activists, she could put the administration over a barrel.

  • kyle

    let me be the first to say, if this was a black woman everyone would cry RACISIM, where are the black woman fighting for this girl????? *crickets crickets crickets

  • Americaisgoingdownthedrain

    Well…….I hope you don’t identify as being progressive, because this entire post is the epitome of regression. Look up the definition of empathy, and then google the mental effects of rape on women. It’s easy to say well, why didn’t she just go to the police? Why is she refusing to identify her attacker? Most women don’t report their rapes because they are ashamed(wrongly) of it happening in the first place. Maybe she just wanted some validation, some encouragement, or hope to get through her situation. Some people really need to work on their emotional intelligence and learn how to better relate to other people.

  • ImJustSaying

    Um this isn’t a race issue this is a gender issue.
    WOMEN are supporting her.
    When the issue is racial we will band together for it.

    How about you get the MEN to support her so this can be changed on her campus as well as hundreds of others that have backward and sexist policies about harassment. Just like the constitution most of these policies were made by old (usually white, not that it matters in this case) men and haven’t been amended in years, if not decades.

  • http://stompkinsnc.wordpress.com stompkinsnc

    Oh I see, your right. Every man is this world should automatically be put in jail on the simple word of a woman, no evidence, no witness, no rape kit, no report to law enforcement, no nothing. That makes sense. Women in paternal families, mothers of men, sisters of men, wives of men, daughters of men should all be very scared of this idea.

  • DJ

    Good for her!!! That guy raped the wrong girl this time I hope he gets the punishment he deserves

  • Pat

    You save your entire life for your children to attend college. We hope our daughter’s safety is as much as a concern and priority as receiving a quality education. Unfortunately, these universities will sweep rape charges under the rug to maintain their integrity and keep enrollment up.

    They will protect the athletic programs (more male athletes) because of its economic value. Also colleges with the equivalent size of UNC have a very active Alumni presence, huge monetary contributions, and generational attendees; I think they will protect the accused rapist prior to the women on campus provided that she doesn’t have the same. These institutional board members probably find a lot of excuses or reasons they feel are “legitimate” not to protect the rape victim.

    I commend this young lady very much for speaking out. I believe more incidents such as these are hidden or the victim feels as though they will lose the fight against these huge, very well respected institutions.

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