UNC-CH Officials Deny Underreporting Sex Assaults

Ann McClure's picture

Officials at North Carolina's flagship public university Thursday disputed claims the school underreported sexual assaults in 2010 to keep from looking bad.

The allegations contained in a complaint to the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights and reported by the student newspaper "are false, they are untrue and they are just plain wrong," Leslie Strohm, the top attorney at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told campus trustees.

Strohm and Chancellor Holden Thorpe said they had not seen the complaint filed earlier this month and did not know its specifics.

A copy of the report was obtained by The Daily Tar Heel, which reported last week that four current and former students and former assistant dean of students Melinda Manning accused the school of underreporting sexual assault cases for 2010 in an annual report to the federal government on campus crime. The complaint also alleged that campus officials allowed a hostile environment for students reporting sexual assault, the campus newspaper reported.

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