UNC Chapel Hill AAUP Chapter Addresses UNC Community Regarding Sexual Assault Cases: January 23 2013 Letter to the UNC Chapel Hill Daily Tarheel:

UNC Chapel Hill AAUP Chapter Addresses UNC Community Regarding Sexual Assault Cases, January 23 2013 Letter to the UNC Chapel Hill Daily Tarheel:

January 23, 2013

To the editor of the Daily Tarheel:

Last week three students, a recent graduate and a former administrator filed a complaint with the US Department of Education stating that UNC-CH violates the educational and civil rights of women who report sexual assaults.  The specific allegations are highly disturbing.  More importantly, this complaint does something that the university should have done long ago: it identifies a systemic problem that goes far beyond specific administrators or programs.

Like sports worship that exploits athletes and distorts academics, like personnel policies that disrespect low-wage workers of color, like devotion to wealthy donors and big business that diverts us from serving the public good, male violence against women pervades our whole society.  Rearranging the deck chairs by replacing a few administrators cannot change the course of the ship.

University administrators cannot create a movement by themselves, but they can lead by acknowledging that specific employees are not the only problem.  They can promote honest discussion of persistent threats to personal safety and human rights.  There is no better place than a public university to have these discussions, and no better school than UNC-CH to take leadership.  This is the hope of the women who filed the complaint with the Department of Education.

Having announced that he will step down in 2013, Chancellor Thorp has nothing to lose.  Why not admit what is clear?  Violence against women and the other scandals of his tenure are not isolated incidents.  And we cannot fix the problems without critical education and a movement for change.

Mark Driscoll
President
UNC, Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors
Associate Professor
Asian Studies

Altha Cravey
Vice-President
UNC, Chapel Hill chapter of the American Association of University Professors
Associate Professor
Geography

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