A letter to UNC- Chapel Hill Administration

Republished from Hannah Petersen's original blogpost, with her permission

Dear Administration at UNC-Chapel Hill,

You lied.

Worse yet, you made me lie for you. You told me that you cared about students when they report sexual assault. You said you would listen to their accounts, that you would believe them, that you would act. You made me tell my orientation students all of those points.

You used me and my position of leadership to promote your new programs, your resources and your agendas. You held sessions during orientation that were incredibly detailed, time-consuming, and potentially uncomfortable to those who may have had past experiences.  You said consent was like borrowing a car. You said you wouldn’t take someone’s car without asking, and even if someone gave you access to their car one day, they could change their mind and take it back the next. It all made sense to you when it was a car.

And as trivial as it sounded, I believed that you meant what you were saying.

I was Haven trained, and I was Safe Zone trained, so that I could be a person for my students to approach if anything happened to them. Already, I have had to inform multiple students that they could file a report, seek out resources, come to you. I told them you cared.

You made me a liar.

I defended you in the summer of 2015 when articles came out about how orientation wasn’t covering the issue of sexual assault well enough. I stood up to parents, to current students and to adults outside the school defending what I thought you would follow through on. Our office made sure that your departments were heard and that students knew of your resources.

It’s clear to me now that you used me for your own promotion, but I refuse to be quiet anymore. I refuse because you can still do something to fix this.

It’s too late for me to file my case. My rapist has graduated, and the class I had with him is over.  But that isn’t true for Delaney. That isn’t true for my orientation students. That isn’t true for my friends who have to see their attackers day after day.

They need someone to step up and defend their rights, and while they have the support of the student body, they deserve full support of those who run the University they call home.

Delaney deserves an administration that follows through on what they promised her. All victims deserve to be treated as you promised they would be- as I promised they would be, for you.

It’s not too late for you to help them, to help all of us.

  • Hannah Petersen, 2015 Orientation Leader