As the saying goes something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or in this instance The Daily Tar Heel pressroom. This past Friday The Daily Tar Heel released a summary of the report filed by Andrea Pino, Landen Gambill, Annie Clark, Melinda Manning, and one unnamed female signer. The report alleged that Melinda Manning faced hostile working conditions during her time at UNC by other administration officials, including Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and the Office of University Counsel. The report goes on to allege that her bosses told her the number of sexual assaults on campus were “too high” and apparently reduced the numbers without her knowledge. It also states that she was threatened for trying to reach out to Chancellor Thorp and the Office for Civil Rights for trying to change the policy.
The rotten part is that Pino, Clark, and Manning found out that the report had been leaked to The Daily Tar Heel, and the article was printed without their consent. In a statement, Manning, Pino, and Clark stated that The Daily Tar Heel “did not give us timely warnings to even notify our families.” Vice Chancellor Crisp has repeatedly stated that he could not, and would not respond to comment, “…until the complaint has been provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.” How did The Daily Tar Heel receive a copy of this complaint before the University?
Manning, Pino, and Clark stated that they realized that this was leaked when they examined the article published and discovered that many of the “the complaint alleges” and “the complaint says” were directly copied and pasted from the report itself. They feel as if “our own words were used against us.” There is too much at stake to try this case in the court of public opinion, especially if the report has been quoted improperly. This investigation is highly sensitive and critical to prevent further mistreatment of sexual assault victims on campus. The Daily Tar Heel’s release of this information could potentially obstruct a private investigation. Why did The Daily Tar Heel publish an article on a private ongoing investigation? While we believe that investigative journalism is important, we value the privacy of these women over the need to sell newspapers.
The most important unanswered question is who leaked this report to The Daily Tar Heel?
Here in their statement provided via email in full:
Our official statement, signed Melinda Manning, Andrea Pino, Annie Clark. We will not comment further at this time.“We want to clarify Friday’s recent Daily Tar Heel story. The Office for Civil Rights Complaint, written by the 5 filing the complaint, was leaked accidentally and was printed without our consent. While we understand the need for and importance of investigative journalism, the DTH did not give us timely warnings to even notify our families, and the release of that information is potentially harmful for our case. As we have been told, typically, the Office For Civil Rights does not even release information like this with a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request during an investigation. While we understand that some of this information would have eventually became public knowledge, we strongly disagree with the manner the DTH handled our sensitive information. Furthermore, while the DTH references “as the complaint says” multiple times, much of this article was a copy/paste of our OCR report, making it even more damaging to the survivors involved as we feel our own words were used against us.”