The UNC Chapel Hill Daily Tar Heel reported late last night that a former Assistant Dean of Students, three current students and one former student have filed a civil rights complaint against the university over alleged efforts by officials in the University Counsel’s office to squelch sexual assault complaints.
“In 2011, the University Counsel’s office pressured Melinda Manning, then UNC’s assistant dean of students, to under-report cases of sexual assault, according to a complaint against UNC filed to the U.S. Department of Education by Manning and four others.
Manning, three students and one former student filed the complaint Wednesday, alleging that the University has violated the Clery Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other federal laws.
The complaint, obtained by The Daily Tar Heel, is centrally concerned with the University’s handling of sexual assault cases.
But Manning’s experiences, documented in the complaint, serve as a large-scale indictment of the actions of high-level University administrators — specifically, Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and the Office of University Counsel.
The complaint alleges Manning was told by the University Counsel’s office that the number of sexual assault cases she compiled for 2010 was “too high” before the total was decreased by three cases without her knowledge; that she was made the victim of a hostile work environment in the dean of students office; and that her efforts to reform the University’s handling of sexual assault cases were stymied more than once by higher administrators.
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