As a student, Pino was one of the primary writers and one of five complainants in the 2013 Title IX and Clery Act complaints against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Along with Annie E. Clark, she became a national leader in filing this sort of complaint, advising sexual assault victims at universities across the United States. Pino is a primary subject in the 2015 documentary film The Hunting Ground, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering.
Pino was raised in Miami, Florida, United States, in a family of Cuban descent. She attended International Studies Charter High School.
Pino attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; she was the first in her family to go to college.
She has stated that she was raped twice while in college. The first incident occurred several weeks into her freshman year, when she was in a fraternity member's room and he gave her a drugged drink. According to her, she fell unconscious, and only woke up the next morning, in her own dorm room, with scratches and bruises, with a note attached to her that said "We found you by the road". She did not report the incident.
Her second rape occurred, she says, in March 2012, during her sophomore year, when an unknown male student whom she had just met brought her into a bathroom and forcibly raped her; she emerged, bloodied, and ran back to her room, dripping blood the whole way; she went to sleep, and woke up in a pool of her own blood.
After telling administrators that she was raped, Pino claimed that she had been unsupported by the university administration and policies that purported to protect her and other students reporting sexual violence. She alleged that an administrator told her that her problem was that she was "just lazy."
According to Pino, her activism was driven by her experiences with sexual assault and harassment at the University of North Carolina.
According to Pino, when she began to communicate to the UNC administration her desire to receive support for her assault and for the assaults of students who approached her for help, UNC administration denied that their policies were in non-compliance. In response, Pino approached UNC alumna Annie E. Clark, who also had reported being mistreated. The two began to research Title IX, a federal legislation which grants students the right to an education without sex discrimination, as well as the Clery Act, which grants protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. Their research yielded a strategy originally proposed by feminist scholar Catharine MacKinnon in the 1970s. She argued for using the threat of withdrawing federal funding as a means to force universities to effect changes in sexual assault policies.
In January 2013, Pino and Clark, together with several other UNC students and one former administrator, filed a 34-page complaint against the university with the United States Department of Education's OCR. After the women filed the complaint, the OCR and the Clery Compliance Division both launched investigations into how the university was handling sexual assault and crime on campus.
Following the media coverage of the UNC complaint, Pino and Clark connected with sexual assault survivors from institutions across the country and began assisting them in filing Title IX and Clery Act complaints against their institutions. As a result, students have successfully filed complaints against Swarthmore College, Occidental College, the University of California, Berkeley, Dartmouth College, The University of Southern California, and Columbia University, among others.
Clark and Pino's activism are the subject of a controversial 2015 documentary film, The Hunting Ground.
In 2013, Pino and Clark co-founded End Rape on Campus (EROC), a group working to end sexual violence on campuses around the country. EROC helps people who have been sexually assaulted with direct resources, with pro bono therapists and attorneys, and it provides assistance with filing complaints.