A student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held a press conference yesterday to criticize the way the school handled her allegations of being raped by a member of the football team. Nineteen-year-old Delaney Robinson told reporters that UNC junior linebacker Allen Artis assaulted her earlier this year, and, up until yesterday, the university had done nothing to hold him accountable.
With her father and attorney by her side, Robinson said that she had been drinking on Valentine's Day in an on-campus apartment where the assault took place. But, she said, that doesn't give anyone the right to attack her. "I did not deserve to be raped," she said.
Robinson submitted a rape kit at a local hospital after the incident, but according to ABC 11, neither the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS) nor the Orange County district attorney requested an analysis.
Robinson went on to talk about how investigators from DPS made her feel "like a suspect" by quizzing her on her sexual history and asking if she'd led Artis on, if she had sex with him previously, and if she'd even said no.
Later, she said, when she listening to recorded interviews between Artis and investigators, she heard them reassuring him and speaking "with a tone of camradery." "They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls' phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me," Robinson said in her statement. "They told him, 'don't sweat it, just keep living your life and playing football.'"
Robinson's attorney said that despite concluding its investigation three months ago, UNC's Title IX office has not rendered a decision on the case.
According to local media outlets, Artis was indefinitely suspended from the football team on Tuesday, and an arrest warrant was issued for the 21-year-old, charging him with having sex with the victim against her will when he "should have reasonably known that the other person was mentally incapacitated and physically helpless." Today, Artis turned himself in to the police.
University officials also released a statement yesterday saying they could not comment on the allegations because of federal privacy laws.
Mahroh Jahangiri, executive director of survivor advocacy organization Know Your IX, tells Broadly that schools like UNC need to be more transparent when it comes to cases of sexual assault. "It would be so helpful for UNC to be required to provide regular data on the number of cases that come forward, how long it's taken them to respond to each of those allegations, how long it's taken them to arrive at a decision about what sanctions have been taken," she says. "Without that sort of data, students are forced to scramble toward other mechanisms" to fight for accountability.
According to the Huffington Post, UNC has a history with Title IX violations. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights had three open investigations at the school, including one to look into complaints that the university created a hostile environment for victims of sexual assault.
Universities have made it clear that justice isn't something that they're willing to move quickly towards.
"Universities have made it clear that justice isn't something that they're willing to move quickly towards," Jahangiri says, "but they will do a lot to protect their reputations."
Regardless whether or not an investigation is moving forward, schools are required under Title IX and II to provide interim accommodations to ensure that a student's educational access is not being impeded, says Anna Voremberg, managing director of End Rape on Campus.
Another conversation that needs to take place, she tells Broadly, is whether or not an athlete who is being investigated for a sexual assault should even be allowed to play. If it was a requirement that anyone accused of assault be suspended from participating in sporting events, "perhaps that would push institutions to speed along the process," she says.
Once again, Voremberg points out, a perpetrator's life appears to be valued more than justice for a victim. "[Robinson] did everything right, and the police still valued [Artis] and apparently his football career over justice," she says.