UNC case on sex as­sault records head­ing to NC Supreme Court

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - News - BY JOSH SHAF­FER jshaf­fer@new­sob­server.com Josh Shaf­fer: 919- 829- 4818, @joshshaf­fer08

The N.C. Supreme Court agreed Fri­day to hear the case sev­eral me­dia out­lets have brought against UNCChapel Hill ask­ing for iden­ti­ties of stu­dents and em­ploy­ees found re­spon­si­ble for rape and sex­ual as­sault.

In 2016, The Daily Tar Heel stu­dent news­pa­per filed a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion re­quest with UNC, ask­ing for records con­nected to sex crimes and re­lated of­fenses through the school’s honor court, its Com­mit­tee on Stu­dent Con­duct or the Equal Op­por­tu­nity and Com­pli­ance Of­fice.

The univer­sity turned down that re­quest, call­ing such data “ed­u­ca­tional records” pro­tected by fed­eral law.

The Daily Tar Heel sued later in 2016 along with the Char­lotte Ob­server, The (Durham) Her­ald Sun and Capi­tol Broad­cast­ing, which owns WRAL.

The N.C. Court of Ap­peals ruled in April that UNC must pro­vide the names, dis­put­ing the univer­sity’s ar­gu­ment on fed­eral law.

The univer­sity filed pe­ti­tions with the Su- preme Court in May af­ter ex­press­ing dis­ap­point­ment in the ap­pel­late rul­ing, say­ing they wor­ried re­lease of in­for­ma­tion would dis­cour­age vic­tims and wit­nesses from com­ing for­ward.

In 2014, UNC-Chapel Hill put a new sex­ual as­sault pol­icy into place af­ter five women asked the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to in­ves­ti­gate what they de­scribed as an at­mos­phere of sex­ual vi­o­lence on cam­pus.

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