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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill task force discusses sexual assaults

May 15, 2013 10:33:22 AM PDT
A task force created to review the policy on sexual assault cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill met for the first time Wednesday.

The 21-member group was created after several women filed a federal complaint against the university, alleging that it mishandled sexual assault cases and violated students' rights.

» Click here to read what the task force is charged with reviewing (.pdf) «

Gina Smith, a former prosecutor of sex crimes in Philadelphia, is helping representatives from university police, administrators, faculty and student groups, focus while reminding them who's watching their deliberations.

"Law enforcement, child protective services, the media, and administrative authorities -- they're all folks who have a dog in this fight," she said.

However, Smith is also challenging the task force to see their work through the eyes of those who are bringing the complaints to light, because they've chosen to go public with personal experiences.

"And are we less likely to be complaining about the process if we felt tended to as a human being, who is coming to the institution for help," she said. "The risk is high; the likelihood of occurrence is high. Where do we put our controls?"

Plans calls for the task force to meet weekly through the summer, with revisions likely by the fall semester.

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