Protesters disrupted the UNC Board of Governors meeting once again on Tuesday, just as they did at the board’s December meeting.
Protesters were not removed one-by-one as they were before, instead continuing to chant after they were asked to stop and sit back down. As protesters took over the table reserved for members of the Board of Governors, four of the individuals were forcibly removed from the room by UNC Police.
WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE IS USED IN THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS
The protesters were charged with obstructing an official meeting and resisting an officer. One protester could be heard screaming from the hallway after being removed; UNC Police Chief Jeff McCracken says that she was charged with assault on a public official.
McCracken says he is pleased with how the officers handled the situation.
“I think the behavior, the response of the officers here was completely dictated by the behavior of the protesters today,” he says. “We hate that we had to take any action but that was their choice.”
Protesters were upset over the physical way in which one of their peers was arrested. McCracken reiterated that he believes the action of the officers was dictated by the protesters.
“She resisted the efforts of the officer to escort her from the room,” McCracken says, “and that was what resulted in the contact.”
McCracken adds that he doesn’t believe the officers were left with any choice when dealing with that individual protester.
“She was making every effort not to be escorted from the room,” McCracken says. “She wrapped herself around a chair. She began screaming. And that was the only thing the officers could do to get her out the door.”
McCracken estimates that 40 officers were on hand for the board meeting, admitting that is more than normal in anticipation of the protests.
“This whole situation is not normal,” McCracken says.
The protesters were speaking out against the election of Margaret Spellings as President of the UNC System.
One of the protesters says the actions today were the result of feeling that their voices had not been heard so far in the process.
“We’ve tried going through their channels,” she says. “We’ve tried asking for meetings. We’ve tried petitioning. We’ve tried all the paper, ‘respectful’ channels so to speak, right, but they haven’t listened. They’ve completely ignored us.
“So we don’t have any other option.”
She adds that the protesters do believe their actions will result in change from the board.
“Right now, our goal is to put so much pressure on the Board of Governors that they cannot physically ignore the fact that UNC does not want Spellings here,” she says. “That UNC does not approve of what they’re doing.”
Another protester, who identified himself as a 2014 graduate of East Carolina University, says the protesters are prepared to continue disrupting board meetings.
“This isn’t a new fight,” he says. “The Board of Governors has been trampling over the necks and the backs of students since we can remember. If you look at what happened in the current state of students in North Carolina, it’s a giant failure of their part.”
Spellings was not in attendance on Tuesday. She officially takes over as President in March.
The individuals arrested were Madeleine Scanlon, Irving David Allen, Olufemi Shittu and Jennifer Myers, according to a UNC System spokesperson. Myers was issued a time-limited trespass warning by UNC-Chapel Hill Police Department but the magistrate found no probable cause on any charges. Shittu was charged with disorderly conduct and released on a written promise to appear. Allen was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting and obstructing an officer and released on a written promise to appear. Scanlon was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting and obstructing an officer and assault inflicting serious injury of law enforcement officer, which is a felony. Scanlon was released after posting a $500 unsecured bond. Scanlon, Shittu and Myers are scheduled to appear in court February 4.