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Duke associate dean to review MIT response to Carpenter's complaints against student

Kathleen C. Wallace, associate dean for judicial affairs at Duke University, will conduct an independent review of MIT's response to Julia Carpenter's complaints against an MIT student who lived in her residence hall, Dean for Student Life Larry Benedict announced last week.

Carpenter, a junior, lodged the complaints in the months prior to her death on April 30. The state medical examiner determined that she committed suicide.

As the associate dean for judicial affairs in Duke's Office for Student Development, Wallace administers Duke's undergraduate judicial system, serves as hearing officer for violations of the undergraduate judicial code, maintains student disciplinary records, serves as the undergraduate harassment prevention advisor, and is co-coordinator of the school's peer mediation program.

A graduate of the North Carolina Central Law School, she is a member of the North Carolina State Bar Association, the Association for Student Judicial Affairs, and the Center for Academic Integrity. She was a police officer in Durham, N.C., from 1991-94.

"The purpose of the review is not to assign blame or fault to anyone, or to offer excuses for anything that occurred," said Benedict. "The goal is to see if lessons may be learned that could improve MIT's responsiveness in the future to students with concerns similar to Ms. Carpenter's."

Benedict said the review might also suggest ways in which MIT could better respond to parents, friends and other students after a student death.

Wallace will prepare a written report that outlines her findings and recommendations.

Benedict and his colleagues will consider whether MIT's procedures for handling future complaints could be improved in light of the report. While it will not be made public, the MIT community will be informed about any changes adopted as a result of the report.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 12, 2001.

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