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Feds Investigating UNC For Allegedly Punishing a Rape Whistleblower

Illustration for article titled Feds Investigating UNC For Allegedly Punishing a Rape Whistleblower

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is opening a new investigation into the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for allegedly punishing sophomore/rape survivor Landen Gambill for "intimidating" her rapist by speaking to press about the federal complaint she filed against her school.

Remember when Gambill was charged in February with a school honor code violation for "intimidating" her rapist, an ex-boyfriend whom she never named publicly? The case was dropped after UNC's Chancellor made a special request (and, maybe/definitely related, #standwithlanden trended nationally), but the investigation will determine whether Landen was deliberately punished. Of course, it's against the law to retaliate against whistleblowers. Gambill's allegations sound too evil to be true — straight out of a SVU episode, even — but Gambill's real life inspired that same episode, after all.

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The university already commissioned Rutgers University professor Barbara Lee to review the incident, who found no evidence of retaliation but lots of problems with the honor court system. Gambill didn't participate in that investigation, according to Huffington Post, because she refused to work with UNC. We don't blame her. Gambill said she believes the OCR, which is already investigating UNC for allegedly underreporting sexual assault on campus and improperly dealing with rape accusations, will conduct "a credible and thorough investigation."

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[Huffington Post]

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DISCUSSION

I used this case when my brother-in-law denied that there was a rape-culture. He just said that it was still unfair for anyone accused of rape to have it made public since it would 'ruin his life' if it wasn't true. My counterpoint about the fact that less than 5% of rape claims are false allegations made no impression on him either.