The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill community continued its dialogue about sexual assault April 16 as Chancellor Carol L. Folt and nearly 400 students, faculty and staff gathered at Carroll Hall for a discussion and screening of “The Hunting Ground” documentary.
The event was hosted by student organizations including Carolina Advocating for Gender Equity, St. Anthony Hall, One Act, Project Dinah, Students United for Reproductive Justice, Carolina Union Activities Board and Sigma Phi. Representatives from other campus and community advocacy organizations were also there to provide support.
The discussion focused on how college campuses can better meet the needs of survivors and included Folt; Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, former Carolina students and sexual assault rights advocates; and Melinda Manning, former assistant dean of students.
Rebecca Macy, L. Richardson Preyer distinguished chair for strengthening families, associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the School of Social Work, helped moderate the panel, along with Taylor Lammert and Claire McLaughlin, co-chairs of Carolina Advocating for Gender Equity. Topics ranged from advocating for reforms in sexual assault policies to working to improve resources for survivors.
“We are all trying to understand how to make it easy,” Folt said. “The last thing we want to do is make it difficult for someone who has just gone through a trauma to find resources.”
The documentary, which opened nationwide last month, discusses rape on college campuses by following the stories of students who are survivors. After the screening, Clark and Pino participated in a question and answer session with the audience.
“The first part of changing the problem is acknowledging it,” Clark said. “UNC is a microcosm of what is happening across the country and is also a greater reflection of our culture at large. It’s not just about this campus. It’s on all of us as students, as faculty, as administrators to address this problem and also prevent it. We do need to talk about it. … I hope that tonight can be the starting point to having those in-depth conversations.”
Lammert said the goal of the event was to facilitate conversations on sexual assault to help improve Carolina.
“The conversation does not end when you leave Carolina, but it will end when you stop talking about it,” said Pino, who credited Folt for being the only chancellor to participate in a panel discussion about the film.
“We are not declaring victory in any way,” Folt said. “I am here because I really want to continue to work on this area.”
By Brandon Bieltz, Office of Communications and Public Affairs
Published April 17, 2015