Comparing Rape to Football is a Federal issue: UNC Pressured Dean to Underreport Sexual Assault Cases
In 2011, the University Counsel’s office pressured Melinda Manning, then UNC’s assistant dean of students, to underreport 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.
Crisp wrote in an email that he could not respond to the complaint’s allegations until the complaint has been provided to the University by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. He said his email response was sent on behalf of Sauls, Leslie Strohm, the University’s general counsel, and Kara Simmons, associate University counsel.
Sauls, Strohm and Simmons did not respond to calls and emails requesting comment.
“I want to assure you that the University takes the issue of sexual assault very seriously, and we are all working together to make sure that our process for handling these cases is fair, effective and supportive,” Crisp wrote.
‘When I went to report my assault in 2007, I asked an administrator what the process would look like,’ Clark said. ‘Instead, that person told me, ‘Rape is like a football game, Annie. If you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?”
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. 668.46.
The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses. Compliance is monitored by the United States Department of Education, which can impose civil penalties, up to $35,000 per violation, against institutions for each infraction and can suspend institutions from participating in federal student financial aid programs.
The law is named for Jeanne Clery, a 19-year-old Lehigh University freshman who was raped and murdered in her campus residence hall in 1986. The backlash against unreported crimes on numerous campuses across the country led to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.  The Clery Act, signed in 1990, was originally known as the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act.