Charge dropped against UNC student who spoke out

June 6, 2013 7:26:02 PM PDT
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp has told a student who faced expulsion because she spoke publicly about her rape case that the charge against her has been dropped.

Landen Gambill's sexual assault case against an ex-boyfriend prompted protests and rallies, and catapulted her plight for justice to national headlines after she and four others filed a complaint with the federal government about how UNC handles sexual violence on campus.

"Thanks to the bravery of a few people who have received a lot of backlash we've been able to come together," said UNC task force member Sarah-Kathryn Bryan.

A campus board had earlier cleared Gambill's alleged attacker of wrongdoing. Then UNC charged her with violating the honor code -- saying she'd created an intimidating environment for him even though she never named him.

Gambill then claimed the university was retaliating.

But in letter to the university Thursday, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp dropped Gambill's charges saying an independent review launched in March, "found no evidence that the University retaliated against the student."

The university is revising how it deals with disruptive or intimidating behavior. Now, students can't be charged until the committee on student conduct can review the charge.

Neither Gambill nor her alleged attacker could be reached for comment, but one of her friends reacted saying free speech on campus is unequal.

"There are certain voices that always get heard and their freedom of speech is never restricted including harassing remarks," said Bryan.

Bryan is also part of a 21-member task force working to improve the school's student on student complaint policies. The results are due next fall.

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