UNC School of Dentistry Honors Slain Student with 2nd Annual DEAH DAY

Approximately 400 students in the UNC School of Dentistry spread around several organizations and locations on Thursday for DEAH DAY – a day of service honoring Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha, who were shot and killed in February 2015.

Barakat was a student in the School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill and Yusor, his wife of just a few weeks, was set to join him last fall. But the newlyweds and Yusor’s sister, Razan, were shot and killed by a neighbor in their apartment complex.

The world quickly focused on Chapel Hill after the three Muslim students – dubbed ‘Our Three Winners’ – were killed. And quickly the world found out about the impact these three young people had on those around them.

To carry on the legacy of doing good in the world and helping those in need, students in the School of Dentistry participated in the inaugural Day of Service last fall.

Chancellor Carol Folt said it is heartwarming to see students want to carry on that legacy.

“I’m very moved by it,” Folt said. “I’ve gotten to know Deah’s family very well. I think the students that continue DEAH DAY and the faculty and staff are so sincere, they became so involved. Clearly, they got to know the extraordinary students from the start. But this feeling that the community could actually honor lives by spreading that mission of service forward is so deeply motivating. It’s a part of the grand mission that we hear in our students. And so that’s what it means to me every time I see them come together; I think this is so sincere and from the heart.”

The community service event is scheduled to continue to be held annually. The School of Dentistry cancels classes and closes most clinics on that day.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-school-dentistry-honors-slain-student-2nd-annual-deah-day

Local Leaders Ask for Peaceful Protests in Charlotte

Eyes around the world have been focused on Charlotte over the last few days after an African-American police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott – an African-American man – on Tuesday afternoon.

Police officials say officers were going to serve a warrant at an apartment complex on Tuesday when they noticed Scott, who was not the subject of the warrant. Police say Scott exited his vehicle with a handgun and then reentered his vehicle.

Authorities say police then ordered Scott to drop his weapon before shots were fired.

Scott’s family has maintained he didn’t have a handgun but was rather holding a book. Police say a weapon was recovered from the scene.

Protests have been held in Charlotte over the last two days. After pleas were made by city leadership and the Scott family that the protests be peaceful, they have turned violent with police in riot gear using tear gas on protesters. One protester was also shot on Wednesday night and was in critical condition at last update – after police initially said the victim had died. Police say that shot did not come from law enforcement, but protesters have said police did fire that shot.

Amidst all of the protests, advocacy groups have called for the body cam and dash cam footage to be released by police. Authorities have said they do not plan to publicly release the footage.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt sent a message to the campus community on Thursday saying, “Like all of you, I have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Charlotte and around the country with great sadness.”

Folt wrote that, “On behalf of the Carolina Community, I want to extend our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected and ask that peaceful and constructive dialogue replace the violence and unrest that has overtaken so much of our nation.

“We all realize that these events, and especially so close to our home, can be very unsettling and create fear and uncertainty among members of our community – many of whom still feel unwelcomed or excluded from full acceptance in our country and our own campus.”

Folt said that counseling services were available to students, faculty and staff.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan also issued a statement on Thursday calling for peaceful protest.

“First, I want to express my condolences to the Scott family for their loss. I also wish for a full recovery to those who have been injured.

“In light of the tragic events of the past three days, it is more important than ever that we restore calm and come together, as a community, in peaceful demonstration and conversation, and in constructive and non-violent ways. As part of the fabric of Charlotte, the Hornets organization is committed to working with civic leaders, our elected leaders and law enforcement to foster more trust, transparency and understanding so we can heal and grow together as a community.”

Skip Foreman is with the Associated Press and is based in Charlotte. Foreman spoke with WCHL about the shooting on Thursday morning. Foreman said the residents of the apartment complex where the shooting took place are adamant Scott did not have a gun. Meanwhile, police have been equally adamant Scott did have a weapon and brandished it.

Listen to the full interview with Foreman below:

http://chapelboro.com/featured/local-leaders-ask-for-peaceful-protests-in-charlotte

UNC Junior Named ACC Linebacker of the Week

UNC linebacker Cayson Collins has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Linebacker of the Week for his performance in the UNC’s victory over James Madison on Saturday.

The junior from Charlotte finished the game with 10 tackles, including two for loss, as the Tar Heels fought off a pesky JMU team for a 56-28 victory.

After starting off quickly on offense, the Dukes were held scoreless on seven of their final eight possessions.

UNC is 2-1 and preparing to open Coastal Division play against Pittsburgh next Saturday in Chapel Hill.

http://chapelboro.com/sports/unc-sports/unc-junior-named-acc-linebacker-of-the-week

Power Restored to Portions of UNC Campus

***UPDATE 11:20: UNC officials say power has been restored to “much” of campus and that the university is working with Duke Energy to restore remaining outages.***

***UPDATE 11:08: UNC tweeted that power has been restored to “some parts of campus.” No word on when it will be fully restored.***

A powerful storm moved through Chapel Hill early Monday and knocked out power to at least a portion of the UNC campus.

The university tweeted that it was aware of the outage and was working to get more information.

UNC’s weather monitoring service said that rain was falling at a rate of more than two inches per hour and that lightning struck within five miles of the campus.

The Duke Energy is not showing any major outages in the area. More information will be provided as it is made available.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/power-out-on-unc-campus

UNC Chancellor Responds to Campus Concern Over Sexual Assault Allegations

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is asking for trust from the campus community in the wake of rape allegations made by a student at the Chapel Hill campus this week.

“As chancellor, nothing matters more to me than the safety and well-being of our campus community and how our University responds to these issues and concerns,” Folt wrote in an open letter.

The message is in response to allegations made by UNC sophomore Delaney Robinson earlier this week. Robinson publicly claimed that she was raped by a UNC football player on Valentine’s Day on campus. Robinson said she came forward because she was frustrated with how the investigation was being handled by UNC Police and the local District Attorney’s Office.

Folt wrote that this topic was “very difficult but important” and that it “matters to us every day. We take every allegation extremely seriously.”

Folt continued, “we must be fair to all of the individuals involved and not rush to judgment – regardless of how that approach and the time it takes might be viewed in the court of public opinion.”

Robinson took out warrants for misdemeanor charges herself this week against her alleged attacker – UNC linebacker Allen Artis – felony warrants must come from the DA’s Office or a grand jury. Artis turned himself into authorities at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on the misdemeanor charges of assault and sexual battery. Robinson’s attorney Denise Branch said the self-sworn warrants were taken out because she had been told by the DA’s Office that no charges were coming from this investigation.

Branch quoted from an e-mail she said she received from a member of the DA’s Office in early August.

“UNC DPS has made clear their determination the evidence does not support criminal charges and our review of the investigation does not lead us to advise or otherwise take action to the contrary.”

District Attorney Jim Woodall, however, said he had confirmed with UNC officials that the investigation was still open and active.

“The lead investigator took some investigative steps and consulted with our office on August 26,” Woodall told WCHL in an interview on Tuesday. “And then he actually went to a judge on a matter on August 29 concerning this case.”

Woodall said that meant felony charges were still possible in the case. But he added because alcohol was involved – Robinson admitted to drinking while underage the night of the alleged attack – that could complicate the investigation because of the laws regarding rape in North Carolina.

Folt wrote in her Friday correspondence that, “Sometimes, to get it right takes longer than anticipated.”

Other than the length of the investigation, Robinson’s attorney also questioned the reliability of the university’s new Title IX policy rolled out over the last two years in an effort to better serve sexual assault victims.

Folt responded, “Inevitably, some will walk away from the process disagreeing with the outcome. That does not reflect in any way on the integrity of our employees or our process.”

Folt continued, “The comprehensive changes we made in 2014 included more clearly defining consent, streamlining and better publicizing reporting options, adding confidential resources, and changing the adjudication procedures.”

Branch criticized the Title IX process saying, “The Title IX office has refused to render a decision in this case, despite concluding their investigation nearly three months ago.”

Addressing results of the new system, Folt said it had been “promising – we are encouraged by an increase in reporting.”

Folt added, “Our Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office reports a 52 percent increase in formal investigations of sexual assault and a 156 percent increase in requests for accommodations, resources and other support between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.”

Folt again commended the university’s Title IX office, Student Affairs and Department of Public Safety officials.

“They are outstanding professionals who care deeply about our students,
faculty and staff.”

Folt ended the letter saying, “We are all dedicated to prevention, safety, treating people with compassion and respect, achieving fair outcomes and continuing to do everything possible to getting these processes right.”

Robinson is now a sophomore at UNC and said on Tuesday she intended to stay at the university and never truly considered transferring.

Artis, meanwhile, is out of custody on a $5,000 unsecured bond and has a September 29 court date to face the two misdemeanor charges. Again, the DA’s Office says the investigation is ongoing and felony charges may be a possibility. Artis has been suspended from the football team, per team policy when a player is facing misdemeanor charges.

More information on resources available to victims of sexual assault on UNC’s campus is available here.

Read the full letter from Folt below:

Dear Carolina Community:

I am writing today to share my thoughts about a very difficult but important topic that has been on everyone’s minds this week: sexual assault and sexual violence.

As chancellor, nothing matters more to me than the safety and well-being of our campus community and how our University responds to these issues and your concerns. In every situation, we must be fair to all of the individuals involved and not rush to judgment – regardless of how that approach and the time it takes might be viewed in the court of public opinion.

I understand that people want me to speak out whenever there is an incident of public interest, but I cannot comment on specific cases as I do not want to bias or jeopardize the fairness of the process. This topic matters to us every day. We take every allegation extremely seriously. If we ever find shortcomings or problems, we will admit to them and fix them. Your feedback is helpful. We want people to feel empowered to share opinions and to be engaged in a thoughtful and respectful way.

The issues involved in sexual assault are challenging. Inevitably, some will walk away from the process disagreeing with the outcome. That does not reflect in any way on the integrity of our employees or our process.

We are committed to ensuring every step of our policy and procedures is correctly followed. Sometimes, to get it right takes longer than anticipated. But in the end, a respectful, reliable and equitable investigation must be the result. I want to reassure you that Carolina follows the highest standards based on federal law and guidance. The comprehensive changes we made in 2014 included more clearly defining consent, streamlining and better publicizing reporting options, adding confidential resources, and changing the adjudication procedures. We added resources to provide compassionate care and accommodations for those who need support with their day-to-day logistics, academics or work. For details, please visit http://safe.unc.edu.

The results so far are promising – we are encouraged by an increase in reporting. This trend suggests that our education, prevention and awareness programming is taking root and that our community members feel more comfortable coming forward. We also know they expect to be treated fairly. Our Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office reports a 52 percent increase in formal investigations of sexual assault and a 156 percent increase in requests for accommodations, resources and other support between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

I have confidence in the people responsible for our campus process, including our Title IX Office, Student Affairs and the Department of Public Safety. They are outstanding professionals who care deeply about our students, faculty and staff. We are all dedicated to prevention, safety, treating people with compassion and respect, achieving fair outcomes and continuing to do everything possible to getting these processes right.

Sincerely,

Carol L. Folt

Chancellor

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-chancellor-responds-to-campus-concern-over-sexual-assault-allegations

Motion to Delay Chandler Kania Wrong-Way Fatal Crash Trial Denied Once Again

Local Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour denied the second attempt to delay Chandler Kania’s trial in court Tuesday. The former UNC student is accused of driving the wrong way on I-85 for at least six miles after several hours of drinking last summer. Kania’s Jeep hit another vehicle head-on and killed three of the four passengers.

Defense Attorney Russell Babb says Kania’s defense needs more time to hire an expert to fix the audio quality of a North Carolina Highway Patrol interview with Kania after the wreck.

“We’ve tried various ways and used our IT people in-house to help us try to figure things out because it sounds like it’s recorded in one corner of the Dean Dome with the camera far away.”

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Nieman says the audio issues from the video are not bad enough to warrant pushing back the trial.

“I’ve gone through the discovery and I suspect they have, and I’ve listened to it multiple times and you can hear it quite clearly.”

Babb says they also need more time to study the blood test taken from Kania at UNC Hospitals.

“We need more time to hire experts to help us understand hospital protocols; the way hospital blood is typically taken; who does it; who handles it; the possibilities of contamination, and experts to help us understand a trial of this nature”

Babb also says the defense has acquired more than 500 cell phone images from prosecution that they need more time to sort through.

Nieman says the prosecution obtained the hospital records because the defense wants to block the blood-alcohol content results taken by emergency personnel directly after the wreck. And the cell phone images were condensed versions of ones the defense has had since December.

“No single document is new. They’ve had it for the better part of a year.”

Baddour sided with prosecution on both the pictures and the medical records.

“The court will deny the motion to continue. Thank you, I’m just not satisfied that any of the grounds are justified. I think the medical records are available to the defendant, any person for their own treatment at any time. “

Kania has been charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among other charges. His trial date stands to begin October 3.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/motion-delay-chandler-kania-wrong-way-fatal-crash-trial-denied

UNC Football Player Accused of Rape Arrested

UNC linebacker Allen Artis has been arrested following allegations of sexual assault, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

A UNC student – Delaney Robinson – held a press conference on Tuesday alleging Artis raped her on Valentine’s Day on campus.

Robinson took out self-sworn warrants for misdemeanor charges of assault and sexual battery because she says she has been dissatisfied with the investigation from UNC Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. Officials with the DA’s Office say the investigation is still open and active with felony charges possible.

Authorities say Artis turned himself in on Wednesday and was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.

Artis has been suspended indefinitely from the football team.

Artis is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-football-player-accused-of-rape-arrested

UNC Student Accuses Football Player of Rape

A student at UNC is claiming that she was raped by a member of the UNC football team in February and is scheduled to hold a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

A press release says the incident happened in February and that the press conference will focus on “the struggles she has faced in bringing her attacker to justice.” The release also says the victim “will address the ineffective investigation by University of North Carolina Department of Public Safety and University violations of its new Title IX regulations.”

The accuser – Delaney Robinson – is a sophomore at UNC. She released her prepared remarks ahead of the press conference.

When I entered Carolina as a freshman a little over a year ago, I was excited about new experiences, new friends, great faculty and classes. That all changed in February when I was assaulted and raped on campus.

I did not realize that rather than receiving support and concern from the University, I would only be further victimized by the people who should be working to keep us safe.

Yes, I was drinking that night on Valentine’s Day. I’m under age, and I take responsibility for that. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped.

My life has changed forever, while the person who assaulted me continues as a student and a football player on this campus.

After I was raped, I went to the hospital and gave an account of what I could remember to the sexual assault nurse. Then I was again quizzed by the DPS investigators, who consistently asked humiliating and accusatory questions. What was I wearing? What was I drinking? How much did I drink? How much did I eat that day? Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one night stands? Did I even say no? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect.

My humiliation turned to anger when I listened to the recorded interviews of my rapist by DPS. Rather than accusing him of anything, the investigators spoke to him with a tone of comradery. They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls’ phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me. They told him, “don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football.”

This man raped me and the police told him not to sweat it. How can this happen? Where’s the protection for students? Why does the University not care that this rapist is free and could possibly harm another student?

And if this happened to me, who else has been hurt and been too scared to come forward? And what other cases are being swept under the rug by the University?

I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the rape kit to be taken. I gave a statement. I cooperated with law enforcement and the Title IX office. But six months later the University has done nothing.

I’m taking this public stand not for me, but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the University tells us. I love this University. It’s my home. I plan on graduating. But I expect the University to fulfill its promises to me and to all students.

UNC football head coach Larry Fedora issued the following statement regarding the allegations against the football player:

“We are aware of the misdemeanor charges against Allen Artis.  I cannot comment on either the allegation or the investigative process.  We take these matters very seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities.”

Multiple reports from UNC football practice say Artis has been suspended indefinitely, per team policy:

The University of North Carolina released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon:

“While the University is aware of allegations made today by attorney Denise Branch regarding a student, under federal privacy law we are prohibited from responding to those allegations.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt and her administration have made addressing these issues our highest priority. Two years ago, the University adopted a revised comprehensive policy on discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and sexual misconduct, that was developed based on recommendations and broad input from the campus community and outside experts. That policy establishes a rigorous process conducted by well-trained investigators. The University provides compassionate care to all students who need support.

These matters are complex and often involve multiple agencies including law enforcement. While the University always tries to complete an investigation as quickly as possible, our priority is to ensure that the factual investigations are complete and conducted in a fair and thorough manner.

While we understand and appreciate the public interest in today’s allegations, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

 

UPDATE: Allen Artis was arrested Wednesday morning.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-student-accuses-football-player-of-rape

UNC Honored with Diversity Award for Second Straight Year

UNC is receiving the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from the Insight Into Diversity magazine for the second year in a row.

The award recognizes colleges and universities across the nation that “demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” according to a release.

UNC interim chief diversity officer Rumay Alexander said the award shows Carolina’s commitment to tackling issues of equity on campus.

“While the issues of racism, prejudice and divisions are societal and much bigger than Carolina and other college campuses, Carolina is committed to inclusive excellence in all its forms,” Alexander said. “We will continue to focus on the collective, intentional and sustained work and actions that are necessary to create positive and lasting changes whereby those who comprise our entire campus community thrive.”

Officials say the magazine recognizes campuses through a comprehensive and rigorous application including probes into recruitment and retention of students and employees as well as continued leadership support for diversity.

Campus officials say UNC was rewarded for programs including a campus climate survey among staff, undergraduate and graduate students and the task force on UNC’s history focused on developing an exhibit at the newly named Carolina Hall to tell the building’s full history.

UNC is one of 83 recipients of the 2016 award.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-honored-diversity-award-second-straight-year

UNC and Duke Work Together to Develop Tobacco Treatment Program

It’s no secret that the number of people who use tobacco is on the decline. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 17% of Americans smoked cigarettes in 2014. In 1980, 33% of Americans reported smoking.

James Davis is a Physician at Duke. He’s also the Medical Director for the Duke Center for Smoking Cessation. He’s one of the doctors behind a new program that aims to make that percentage even lower.

“Really the state of NC has needed a program like this for a long time,” Davis said.

It’s called the Duke – UNC Tobacco Treatment Specialist Credentialing Program. In it, the two schools will partner with the state of North Carolina to create a program that will train those who hope to become Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. Davis said these specialists will learn how to administer innovative therapies to anyone dependent on tobacco and nicotine.

“Even though there has been dramatic improvement in terms of smoking incidents,” he said, “We still have a fifth of our population who are doing something that is catastrophic in health terms.”

Davis said the purpose of the program is to study different things that can affect nicotine dependence, such as genetics or mental health, and administer a treatment based on that research. He said previously, specialists would have to go to Massachusetts or Florida to get this certification.

“There’s really been nothing in the area of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee – in these southeastern states to train tobacco dependence specialists,” he said.

Davis said the program will make it easier for the newly trained specialists to then spread the information on the harms of smoking and other tobacco use.

“So providing treatment specialists who can go out to their own communities and serve as experts to guide education and also guide local policy is I think an important mission of our training program as well,” he said.

The next Certified Tobacco Treatment Special Training will be held on October 19-22.

http://chapelboro.com/featured/unc-and-duke-join-to-develop-tobacco-treatment-program