Eve Carson’s Visionary Spirit Lives On Through Namesake Scholarship

We are celebrating the life of Eve Carson Wednesday and the passion she had for UNC, her fellow students, and the campus community. Since the Eve Carson Scholarship was established in 2008 following her passing six years ago, organizers estimate that close to $220,000 has been awarded to 11 Carolina students for support during their senior year.

UNC senior Elizabeth Davis is the Executive Director of the scholarship, which is the only student-run merit grant provided through the University, recognizing those who have shown growth during their collegiate careers.

It is an opportunity, Davis said, to give back to fellow-students and remember Eve and her legacy that has helped so many.

“One of the things that I realize when I got to campus as a freshman was that Eve’s name was everywhere. It wasn’t about her death but about the positive impact she had on the Carolina community. Everyone who knew Eve said she was the most fun person to be around. Not only was she smart and kind but also really humble. She just had really amazing ideas for the University and where it was going forward,” Davis said.

Davis described Eve as a “visionary” for many reasons, but particularly because she included the idea for a student-run scholarship in her platform when she successfully ran for student body president.

“While I didn’t personally know her, a lot of my friends knew her and people involved with the scholarship before me knew her. We are constantly looking at Eve’s documents from her student government platform and are reevaluating what our vision and mission for the scholarship is. I definitely feel like I knew her.”

Carson, courtesy University Gazette

Carson, courtesy University Gazette

Wednesday marks the anniversary of Eve’s murder. Davis said that while it is important to always remember, the scholarship committee’s goal is to shift the focus toward commemorating Eve’s leadership, rather than the tragedy.

Her vibrant spirit is what Davis said drives so many to contribute to the scholarship.

“It is really all about students celebrating students, which I don’t think many organizations on campus can say. It is such an awesome thing to be the only student-run scholarship,” Davis said.

Approximately 3,500 people have donated to the scholarship. Per student, Davis explained it breaks down to about $15,000 for tuition and other expenses, in addition to $5,000 awarded for a summer study experience.

It began as an award given to one student per year, then expanded to two in 2012, and next year, Davis said they hope to award it to three students.

As the years pass, Davis said the donations have increased and involvement with the scholarship has become more far-reaching. Alumni events are being held across the country to raise funds and awareness.

For more information on how you can donate to the Eve Carson Scholarship, click here.

**Listen to the radio story here**


Killer in Eve Carson Case Seeks Parole Possibility

Laurence Lovette, one of two men who murdered UNC Student Body President Eve Carson back in 2008, is trying once again to get the possibility of parole attached to his life sentence.

But Orange & Chatham County District Attorney Jim Woodall, the prosecutor in Lovette’s murder trial, doesn’t think Lovette’s chances are very good.

“I have very high hopes that the appellate courts are going to find that Laurence Lovette’s re-sentencing was done properly, and that he will remain in prison for the rest of his life without possibility of parole,” says Woodall.

Lovette was convicted in 2011 of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, armed robbery and felony larceny for his role in Carson’s kidnapping and shooting death on March 5, 2008.

He and his convicted accomplice Demario Atwater are both serving life in prison without possibility of parole for crimes in connection with Carson’s death.

But Lovette’s lawyer is pushing for him to be re-sentenced, based on the fact that he was 17 at the time of Carson’s murder. As reported in the Daily Tar Heel on Wednesday, Lovette’s attorney Keat Wiles argued his client’s case in the NC Court of Appeals on Feb. 6.

Lovette’s defense is pointing to a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that life in prison without possibility of parole for someone younger than 18 when the crime was committed is cruel and unusual punishment.

Wiles argued that Lovette was denied due process because he was unable to take advantage of new sentencing guidelines that were in the works while his trial was ongoing. He’s asking for the possibility of parole after 25 years.

But Lovette did get a re-sentencing hearing last year, and Superior Court Judge Allen Barbour handed down the same punishment.

“And so in our case, at the re-sentencing, Laurence Lovette received another sentence of life without the possibility of parole, and I certainly hope that the North Carolina Courts find that the new legislation is constitutional, and that that is the ultimate punishment he receives,” says Woodall.

Woodall says he’s sure that the judge’s decision in Lovette’s June 2013 re-sentencing hearing was in compliance with the language of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, as well as sentencing legislation regarding minors, passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2012 and signed by then-Gov. Bev Perdue.

“The Supreme Court decision was based on two separate cases involving younger defendants,” says Woodall. “The essence of the Supreme Court decision is that someone who was less than 18 years old at the time the crime was committed can’t automatically receive a life sentence upon conviction – that a judge or a court must have the option, and must consider mitigating circumstances.”

Now it’s up to the North Carolina Court of Appeals to decide whether the essence of the Supreme Court’s decision was understood correctly in Lovette’s case. Woodall guesses that decision could take several months.


Five Years Later, The Pain Is Fading But The Memories Are Still Strong

CHAPEL HILL – Five years have come and gone since UNC Student Body President Eve Carson was killed, and the University’s former Chancellor James Moeser says though the pain is still there, it gets easier each year to focus more on the good things rather than the loss.

“I think for most of us, and especially for the students that didn’t really know her, there’s not that kind of visceral, emotional reaction so mush as there is a recognition of what a beautiful person she was and how much she contributed,” Moeser says.

Hardly any of the students who walk the campus now were here that tragic day on March 5, 2008.

Even though she was the Student Body President, memories can fade over the years. Moeser says Carson was special, though.

“The fact that we’re still talking about Eve says it all,” Moeser says. “She was such a vibrant personality. She really was a transformational student on this campus, and (therefore) I think she lives on in the causes that she supported.”

One of those causes is a scholarship that Moeser says Carson was in favor of during her time at UNC.

“The scholarship program continues to go,” Moeser says. “It’s a public service scholarship (and) really was Eve’s idea to create that scholarship. After she was killed, we named it for her. But, it was really her idea. So, it’s amazing the way what she did on this campus continues to be alive and real.”

The Eve Marie Carson Memorial Junior-Year Merit Scholarship is a one-year financial benefit that goes to individuals who show they have realized their potential as leaders while attending Carolina. The financial benefit is given to the student during his or her senior year.

Another great thing that stemmed from such a terrible tragedy is a public journalism program in Durham. Jock Lauterer is a Senior lecturer at UNC and started the program in the community where the two men who were convicted of murdering Carson are from.

“(It’s meant to) specifically to put in their hands creative tools like cameras and pens and notepads and tablets and video cameras,” Lauterer says. “So we constructed a newspaper online and in print.”

Lauterer says the program and the paper provide multiple benefits to the community.

“It’s call the North East Central Durham Community Voice,” Lauterer says. “The Voice because they needed their voice to be heard; because their voices have not been heard by the exisiting mainstream media.”

And Moeser says that program fits perfectly with what Carson’s vision for the community was.

“That’s an Eve Carson kind of idea and it’s another example of the byproduct of her life and her death,” Moeser says.