Chancellor Folt’s Inaugural Open House

BY: CAROLINE WORONOFF

On Wednesday February 5th from 4:30-5:30 on the second floor of the Student Union, The Student Advisory Committee to the Chancellor (SACC) will host Chancellor Folt in her inaugural open house.  Vice Chancellor Crisp and Provost Dean will also be in attendance.

The event is designed so students will be in small group discussions for about 25 minutes.  After the discussion period ends, a microphone will be passed around to each table of students in order for them to engage in a Q&A with the panel of administrators.  The goal of this set-up is not only to encourage more in depth questions for the Chancellor, but also to encourage more in depth discussions between members of the student body.

The agenda for the open house includes many of the hot topics on campus right now like the athletic literacy reports, sexual assault policies on campus, undocumented tuition, and academics.

Before going to the event, here is a refresher on where the chancellor stands on many of the issues likely to be discussed at the open house:

Student Athletes

First, she stands by our student athletes’ hard work in the classroom, in the community, and in the athletic arena.  In her letter to students regarding the claims that have been made against UNC athletes she stated that,

“I take these claims very seriously, but we have been unable to reconcile these claims with either our own facts or with those data currently being cited as the source for the claims. Moreover, the data presented in the media do not match up with those data gathered by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.”

Sexual Assault

Second, on the topic of sexual assault, Howard Kallem has been appointed as the university’s new Title IX Compliance Coordinator as of January 2nd 2014.  Kallem is responsible for keeping UNC compliant with the federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination based on sex in federally funded education programs.  According to a message sent to students from Brenda Malone, Vice Chancellor of Human Resources:

“This important area has Chancellor Folt’s full support. She has made a commitment to further expand the resources available to support Title IX compliance by creating a new position that will focus on direct student engagement and programming, as well as an additional Title IX investigations position. These positions will be open for recruitment in the very near future.  Howard Kallem’s appointment, along with the addition of these new positions, will ensure that the University is well situated to provide a safe and responsive environment for our students and employees, and also play a leadership role in the ongoing conversation about Title IX compliance in higher education.”

Tuition

Lastly, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper rejected the One State One Rate campaign that lobbied for instate tuition for undocumented students.  On a different but similar subject, Chancellor Folt has worked to expand access to higher education to low income and first generation students.   While attending a summit on affordability in higher education at the White House, Chancellor Folt announced three new pledges to making education at Carolina affordable.  First, she has committed $4 million to double the size of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars program at UNC. Second, she has announced another $4 million investment to improve graduation rates for undergraduates specifically for low income and first generation students.  Third, Folt announced an expansion of the Carolina College Advising Corps, a service that provides college advising to high

Military Sexual Assault: In DC and at UNC

BY: LINDSEY KELLOGG

The issue of sexual assault in the military became prominent in the news earlier this year with the release of a Pentagon survey that estimated that 26,000 people serving in the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2012, up from 19,000 two years before. According to the same survey, only 13 percent of the estimated cases were reported. Of the politicians who hastened to address this issue, North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan (D) was one of the most adamant and forceful voices in speaking out against military sexual assault and the systems in place to address it.

“Our servicemen and women should not have to worry about their personal safety on bases in the U.S. and around the world while they are bravely serving to protect our nation’s safety,” Hagan said in a statement the week the Pentagon survey was released in early May.  Hagan, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, soon went with other like-minded politicians to discuss ways to prevent military sexual assault with President Obama in a White House meeting on May 9.

Some steps towards reform were soon taken, such as the creation of congressional investigations and of the Department of Defense’s Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, a nine-person committee dedicated to investigating the judicial systems used in prosecuting reported cases of sexual assault. Military courts used for such prosecutions have been criticized as victim-blaming, lacking transparency, and too ingrained in the units they are supposed to be judging to be impartial.

However, reforms to prevent future military sexual assaults and revamp the military justice system have stalled. Bipartisan bills signed onto by Hagan, such as the Combatting Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013, have become stuck in the congressional morass. Since the government shutdown in early October, Hagan and other members of Congress who were actively supporting military sexual assault reforms have moved their political focus elsewhere and haven’t recently spoken publicly on the issue.

Cases of sexual assault in the armed forces still continue to come to light, and now receive more news attention than ever. Over the summer, a case of alleged rape by three midshipmen of a female midshipman at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) brought together the issues of sexual assault in the military and sexual assault on college campuses. The female midshipman reported that she was raped by her fellow midshipmen while unconsciously drunk at an off-campus party in 2012, a situation that seems familiar to students constantly warned to about the dangers of alcohol and sexual violence if they choose to party during their college years.

While political reform of military sexual assault issues stagnates in DC, a new generation of officers graduating from ROTC programs may have a positive effect on changing military sexual assault culture.

Students at Carolina who are in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the college military program whose graduates become commissioned officers, are educated about sexual assault prevention and assistance from the moment they arrive at college, according to Lieutenant Colonel Megan B. Stallings, a professor of military science in the Army ROTC program. The Army’s Sexual Assault/Harassment Response and Prevention (SHARP) program “teaches sexual harassment and assault scenarios all four years the students/cadets are enrolled,” Stallings said, noting the program’s focus on prevention and discussion. “They get training involving both scenarios from college life and military scenarios,” she added. Air Force and Navy ROTC do not use SHARP but have similar educational programs.

Stallings emphasized how important sexual assault prevention training is to the Army overall, and how important it is for students in the ROTC program, as they will soon be officers in charge of approximately forty enlisted soldiers. SHARP training covers how to deal with and report sexual assault suspected among troops, as well as aiding victims. “A large part of the SHARP program is not just preventing sexual assault but taking care of the victims of the crimes, whether they be in or outside of the ROTC system,” Stallings said. SHARP exists in all college Army ROTC programs.

Despite all of the good done by ROTC programs to educate their students, some women still feel apprehensive about joining the military due to the sexual assault issue. “I was worried at first when joining ROTC because I saw the Invisible War documentary which is really bad press for the military when it comes to how they treat sexual assault,” said a female UNC junior in the Air Force ROTC program, referring to a 2012 documentary exploring the prevalence of sexual assault among the armed forces. “I don’t know for sure how they treated sexual assault before I joined [Air Force] ROTC a year ago, but we have lectures on it all the time.”

 “By the third year, we have two in depth classes with various scenarios on the topic and we talk about our resources if it should happen and the consequences of these actions,” she said. “On top of the lessons we have in class, we have briefings throughout the year and lectures by guest speakers skilled in sexual assault prevention. Trust me, they really beat it into us before we even enter the active duty.” The junior, like Stallings, also emphasized how important it is for future officers who will be leading enlisted members to be knowledgeable and in control when it comes to suspected sexual assaults.

No ROTC students have been involved with any alleged sexual crimes in Carolina’s recent history, and, as Stallings mentioned, may be among the most qualified to help victims of such crimes. Stallings underscored how students in the ROTC system aren’t officially part of the military yet, and so if they were to commit crimes or transgressions, such things would be dealt with through the university and the civilian justice systems.

As capable students graduate from ROTC with full sexual assault prevention training and officially enter the military as officers, the military programs’ goals of changing military culture regarding sexual assault might just come to fruition.

  This article originally featured in Campus BluePrint’s Winter 2013 issue.  For more content check out Campus BluePrint in print, available on campus and online!

Student-Athletes Leading Campus in Sexual Assault Awareness

BY: ABBY LANTZ

Softball player and UNC junior Kati Causey knows that as an athlete, she stands out. Whether they’re wearing Nike gear on campus or being featured in the media, Carolina’s athletes are a visible presence in the UNC community. Causey, a founding member of UNC SWAG (Something We Athletes Got), a student-athlete run group that promotes healthy lifestyles through peer education, uses her visibility to raise awareness about sexual assault and violence.

SWAG focuses on reaching out to other athletes as friends and teammates, to reduce the chances of athletes being either victims or perpetrators of sexual assault. “If we can inform the freshmen and prevent some mistakes, then we have made an impact,” Causey said.

 The University is facing federal investigations over its handling of sexual assault cases, including the high-profile case of Landon Gambill, who, along with Former Assistant Dean of Students Melinda Manning, a primary contact for sexual assault survivors, and five other UNC students filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights in January. The Department of Athletics and student leaders in the athletic community have responded to the ongoing conversation about sexual assault culture at UNC by initiating and continuing programs within their own ranks that address and prevent sexual assault.

The Department of Athletics brought Katie Koestner, founder of “Take Back the Night” and sexual assault survivor, to speak to the men’s lacrosse and football teams, the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), and any member of the UNC athletic community that wished to attend last spring. Speakers Dr. Linda Hancock and Gina Maisto Smith, a consultant hired by the University to address sexual misconduct, both spoke with groups of student athletes to facilitate a discussion on the causes and prevention of sexual assault and substance abuse. This year, the Department of Athletics has implemented reporting guidelines regarding information about safety and security that will improve their handling of reported situations, and brought in a representative of the Office of the University Council to speak to individual teams generally about campus policies on sexual harassment and discrimination at the beginning of the semester.

Student athlete leadership groups have been particularly active  in initiating programs to prevent sexual assault and violence. Kelli Raker, a developer of the One Act bystander intervention trainings that are intended to prevent interpersonal violence, met with SAAC representatives Sept. 18 to lead the athletes in One Act skills training. Junior men’s lacrosse player and SAAC representative Joseph Costigan said the training helped him to understand how big of a problem sexual assault is. “Informing people what [actions] are right or wrong really eliminates any gray areas,” said Costigan. The training was the first held specifically for athletes, but Raker noted that athletes have attended trainings before.

Junior women’s lacrosse player Lindsay Scott is working with eight other student-athletes to launch “What Happened Last Night,” an awareness campaign that hopes to lower the number of sexual assaults on campus by focusing on younger athletes and monitoring the spikes in sexual violence and substance abuse that occur during events like LDOC (“Last Day of Classes”), large sporting events, and holidays like Halloween and New Year’s Eve. The project, part of a larger leadership training where student-athletes initiate a project together, hopes to improve the campus environment and “help students look out for each other and make smart decisions in bad situations.”

 “I know that when I heard all of this information at orientation coming into school I didn’t listen, thinking ‘this will never happen to me,’” Scott said. “But in reality it can happen to anyone.”

This article originally featured in Campus BluePrint’s Fall 2013 issue.  For more content check out Campus BluePrint in print, available on campus and online!

I Stand with Landen Gambill

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COMMENTARY BY: CAREY HANLIN

Three days ago, my good friend Landen Gambill received an email from the UNC-Chapel Hill Honor Court informing her that she had been charged