The UNC-Chapel Hill wrestling coach who has been a critic of how universities handle sexual assault allegations that do not go through the courts is out of a job.
After 12 seasons as head coach of the UNC wrestling program, C.D. Mock was “relieved of his duties” by UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham.
“I made the decision that a coaching change was in the best interest of our wrestling program moving forward,” Cunningham said in a prepared statement. “I believe a new head coach will re-energize the program and return it to the level of success I expect from all of our teams.”
Mock, who coached the 2005 and 2006 teams to back-to-back ACC titles, has been the subject of much criticism lately unrelated to his 33-38 record over the past four seasons.
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Toward the end of last year and the beginning of this year, Mock became the subject of much criticism for personal social media posts on a blog he set up after his son, a nationally ranked wrestler at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, was accused of rape last March by a student.
Criminal charges were not filed, but the case went through the Tennessee university’s judicial process.
Amid a heightened national attention to sexual assault allegations on college campuses, C.D. Mock, a 1982 graduate of UNC, questioned whether the due-process rights of the men accused were being trampled. He also became a critic of the “yes means yes” standard for consent to sexual activity as a replacement for the “no means no” standard.
Mock’s comments hit a nerve among many on the Chapel Hill campus that over the past several years has faced federal scrutiny over its handling of sexual assault allegations.
“Let’s all acknowledge this ‘yes means yes’ idea sucks,” Mock posted on the site coreymock.net. “The idea that college kids are going to whip out cell phones and record their partner saying ‘yes’ just before sex is just stupid.
“It’s only a matter of time before guys figure this out and just start arguing that ‘the girl said yes’ even if she didn’t. Now what? Now we just assume all men are lying? It’s a totally stupid idea and it will never last and until it changes many more of us will be the carnage of ‘falsely accused.’”
Under the federal Title IX gender equity law, universities are required to have grievance procedures to respond to reports of sexual violence. The federal Violence Against Women Act requires universities to have procedures for reports of sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking.
Students can report cases of sexual violence to the police and to the university, to both or to neither. The police can initiate a criminal investigation.
A university can investigate and take disciplinary action against the perpetrator, such as suspension or expulsion. A university can also give protective help to the accuser, such as no-contact orders or housing changes.
In January, university officials said they were aware of the website where Mock outlined his son’s case and his reaction to the twists and turns of the campus process related to it.
“We respect the rights of all of our faculty, staff or students in exercising their First Amendment rights,” Rick White, UNC vice chancellor for communications and public affairs, said in a statement at the time. “However, their personal opinions do not reflect a university position, and it’s important that they are not mistaken for one. Mr. Mock is expressing his views as an individual and not in any official capacity on behalf of the university.”
“Knew the risks”
Responding to an email requesting comment Monday, Mock quoted from a blog posted the day before.
“It is no big surprise that UNC fired me last week,” Mock’s said in the email and blog post. “I knew the risks and considered the possibility of this happening six months ago when I started talking about the campus rape hoax and how colleges are responding to it. I have no desire to be a martyr for the cause nor is it my intention to draw attention to me by crying ‘look what they did to poor me!’. That is not the point.”
Mock tied his job loss to what he described as a growing trend of silencing “any opposition to one’s beliefs and views rather than to encourage debate.”
“Was I fired because my beliefs and views differ from those of the leadership at UNC?” Mock’s blog post states. “If one believes this to be true, there should be outrage throughout the Carolina community. Certainly not because a wrestling coach was fired; but, because a major University may have taken extreme measures to silence one of it’s own who is a vocal critic on an issue that has nothing to do with that individual’s job.”
Mock acknowledged that his coaching career had its “ups and downs” over the 14 years.
“For the administration to publicly state that I am being fired for ‘performance’ is certainly their right, but it’s difficult to ignore the timing of this,” Mock’s blog post states.