Knife Wielding Suspect Caught on Campus

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BREAKING: Today, at UNC Chapel Hill, at approximately 4 P.M. an argument broke out in the student union resulting in a knife being drawn and campus going to lockdown. Several students witnessed the ensuing fight and agreed to speak to the Carolina Review.

The argument began in front of the popular union restaurant the Alpine Bagel, according to Chris Donaldson and Ryan Graves:

“We were studying in the middle of the union. The big guy was waiting in line to pay for his food when the guy with the multicolor aviators, olive jacket, hat, and jeans came in. The two made eye contact and without any words being said the knife guy took his glasses and jacket off and pulled out his pocketknife and switchblade. He told the innocent guy to get the (expletive) out of the building now. One girl told him to watch his language. The knife guy followed the innocent guy out of the union over to Lenoir (Dining hall) which was closed. Ryan and I chased after both of them to make sure nothing happened. We went in the doors of Lenoir and the knife guy was on the left stairs and had the innocent guys cornered on the right stairs. We told the knife guy to stay where he was and the innocent guy to come down the stairs and out the door. The knife guy told us to get the (expletive) out and pointed the switchblade at us. The innocent guy came down the stairs and we walked with him back to the union and the knife guy followed us halfway and was yelling at us and then started walking off up past Davis.”

Katherine Deagan was the girl who shouted at the suspect (via Twitter @katiedeagan)

I said to him “Watch your language bruh.” The crazy guy (suspect) told me to (expletive) off. Crazy guy proceeds to follow victim outside the union and to the bottom of Lenior dining hall. Two students (Chris and Ryan) followed after. They found the victim cornered by the stairs and the “cray” guy with a pocketknife and switch blade. The students (again Chris and Ryan) told victim to follow them (to safety). Victim and students came back to union and the came back to union, and the crazy dude walks past Davis (library).

After returning to the union, the police were called and campus officials jumped into action. Being on the third floor of the union, (Alpine is on the second), I was evacuated to the second floor about five minutes after the sound of the first siren and alert text message at 4:24 P.M. approximately ten minutes after the police were called. For a short period, all students were stationed in the second floor, the quickly moved to the bottom of the union away from windows and doors.

By around 4:35, twenty minutes after the incident, we were all at the bottom of the union. During this time, reports of officers searching the library were coming through and that the suspect was headed towards North Campus/ Franklin Street area. Student Angelica Rankin compared the police presence to a “swat team” combing the library. At 5:10 P.M the official Davis Library twitter account confirmed a police presence.

Around 5:02, reports from the Daily Tar Heel claimed that the suspect was in custody. Concurring reports ten minutes later came flowing in and at 5:12 P.M. WRAL confirmed via twitter that the suspect had been taken into custody in the area around Chapel of the Cross- an Episcopal church that adjoins campus.

The names of the suspect and victim have not been released, nor has motive been established. The all clear was issued 5:18 P.M via text and siren. No injuries were reported in this incident.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 10:30 P.M.,: An email from the office of the Chancellor states:

“I am grateful that today’s incident involving a potentially dangerous person near the Pit ended without injury and with a rapid return to a safe, secure campus. “

It goes on to say:

“Throughout the Alert Carolina siren activation, our Department of Public Safety team responded quickly and effectively. Their professionalism and emphasis on community safety was evident from the time the initial reports came in to the sirens sounding to the “all clear.” I am also proud of our partnership with the Chapel Hill police, and pleased with the timely resolution of this situation.”

Heels to Play NC State at 7:00pm

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We are past the half-way point in the men’s basketball season, and while the heels have failed to live up to their preseason hype, tonight has the potential to be a new beginning, and will almost certainly be a pivotal point in the season. After losing their first two conference games to Virginia and Miami, the Heels have managed to win three straight, improving their conference record to 3-2. A win tonight would mark UNC’s first win against a ranked opponent this season (although #18 NC State is likely to fall out of the top 25 on Monday following their loss to Wake Forest this week), and would be a huge confidence boost to a very young group of Tar Heels. On the other hand, a loss would undo the work that the Heels have done getting ahead of a five hundred record in the ACC, and destabilize a team that has only recently begun to show their true potential in streaks of cohesive play over the last three games. This cohesion has been driven by the play of Reggie Bullock, who has emerged as Carolina’s offensive leader. Bullock has proven to be a more consistent offensive threat than James Michael McAdoo, who began the season on a hot streak but has cooled off since ACC play began.

Some familiar problems continue to plague Carolina on both sides of the ball. On defense, our players consistently fail to make successful switches in man-to-man, and the weak-side wing is repeatedly left wide open, allowing opposing teams to eviscerate us from the 3-point line. On the offensive end of the court problems with consistency have been the primary dilemma. For instance, when the Heels played Maryland on January 19th they came out on fire, scoring 42 points in the first half (21 points by Bullock alone), but in the second half Carolina only managed to put up 20 points, while giving back twelve points of their lead to the Terps.

Despite the problems that have clung to the Tar Heels throughout the season, our boys have been slowly turning things around. With each conference win they are becoming more confident, and each week they are come closer to playing up to their potential. Unfortunately, new found confidence tends to be fragile and could be easily broken by a loss tonight, but with any luck that will not be a problem and the Heels will come out of the fray with the added confidence of a win against a ranked conference rival.

Has a University Department Illegally Endorsed Amendment One?

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Click each image for larger close-ups

It’s a well-known fact that the university and university departments aren’t supposed to take public stances on candidates for office or ballot initiatives. Indeed, NC General Statue 126-13 expressly forbids a state employee from “us[ing] the authority of his position, or utiliz[ing] State funds, supplies or vehicles to secure support for or oppose any candidate, party, or issue in an election involving candidates for office or party nominations, or affect the results thereof.” UNC policy also prohibits employees from using the “authority and prestige of position” to affect the outcome of partisan elections.

All of this casts the use of the Campus Y Facebook account and their official university website (photos above) in an interesting light. The Campus Y, you’ll recall, is “under the Carolina Union umbrella,” which is, in turn, a department under the Division of Student Affairs. So, this raises an interesting question: Is the Campus Y, an official department of the University, breaking the law by endorsing the opposition position on Amendment One? I think the answer is clearly “yes.” They are using the “authority and prestige” of their position to endorse a partisan issue. Additionally, the use of the official university website clearly violates the prohibition against using State funds and supplies in partisan elections.

Simply put, this action is in clear violation of the law. It is absolutely shameful that UNC feels that it can simply ignore the law in order to make a political point. Not only does this action reflect poorly on the University, it also reflects poorly on the anti-Amendment campaign, which apparently will resort to any means necessary to win.

Update: There seems to be some confusion about University-sponsored groups vs. University-recognized groups. According to the UNC Organization Manual, with regard to University-recognized groups, “The University does not sponsor or endorse activities associated with these groups.” So groups like the College Republicans, Young Democrats, Carolina Review, etc. can use the University’s name in their club names and advertising, but UNC does not actually endorse the actions of these groups.

The bit concerning University-sponsored groups is a bit more interesting. It reads,

“In certain limited situations a student group may act, in the performance of one of its essential core functions, as an agent of the University. A student group can act to carry out this essential University function only through authority expressly delegated to that group by either the Chancellor or the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. This recognition is given with the understanding that these groups have agreed to act responsibly as agents for the University. On an annual basis, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs identifies those student organizations that are recognized by the University as “University-sponsored” as these may change from year to year. Although a student group may function as an agent for the University in the performance of certain core functions, it may not be an agent for all purposes.”

The way I read it, unless otherwise specified, the Campus Y is an official extension of the University, which is why it is administered by the Division of Student Affairs. The Campus Y’s endorsement of the opposition position on Amendment 1 is concerning precisely because of this relationship with the University. The fact that they posted their support of this position on an official University website, at the very least, gives the impression that the University endorses this position. And that, dear friends, is very illegal.

Update II: I also highly recommend this link (from the Office of NC State’s General Counsel). It helps clarify some of the issues concerning university participation in elections.

The Intolerable Nature of David Horowitz

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Proof that David Horowitz is not the Devil

I’ve always been kind of intrigued by the response that David Horowitz always generates on this campus. It seems like the reaction is always very visceral, very passionate, and very negative. Which begs the question, “Why?” Surely a man that so many people not only dislike but despise must be saying some pretty terrible stuff. Yet after seeing him speak twice on campus and after having read several reactions to him in the Daily Tar Heel, I have yet to come across any sort of reasoned argument against the man.

Take his most recent campus visit as an example. After about 20 minutes into his speech, and before he had even said anything controversial, nearly every Muslim student (and a few other sympathizers) in the room walked out. Now, I know that several groups on campus, Hillel, the Muslim Students Association, Students for Justice in Palestine, etc., really despise Horowitz. But given their little performance at his speech the other night, I wonder if any of them have ever actually heard what he has to say, or if they are just being told that they should despise him. Personally, I was hoping for a little dialogue in the Q&A part of the talk, but apparently Mr. Horowitz’s opponents aren’t interested in debate. If he’s so obviously wrong, it shouldn’t be too hard to show that through a few thoughtful questions, right?

Judging by the responses to Horowitz in the Daily Tar Heel, one might be tempted to think that his opponents don’t want to debate him because they are unable to counter anything he says. It seems like the best they can do is to call him a “well-paid, fire-breathing provocateur,” accuse of him of “weav[ing] a tapestry of truth using tattered fragments of evidence,” and make rather ironic claims that “there is no space in our campus dialogue for generalizations and discrimination.” I suppose if you have no grounds on which to attack his actual arguments going for a character-assassination is the next best thing, but it’s not particularly persuasive. Of course, every now and then, a student (not a UNC student of course) will attempt to challenge Mr. Horowitz on his views. But before long, these students tend to find themselves in the rather awkward situation of endorsing well-known terrorist organizations, which might explain why they’re a little reluctant to engage in any sort of debate.

I’m not really an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, which is why I like to go to these sorts of events, to hear two sides hash out the issues. But when one side fails to show (or rather, just straight-up leaves), I’m inclined to favor the side that actually argued its position. If David Horowitz is such an evil hate-monger, it shouldn’t be too hard to prove that he’s wrong. Yet, I have yet to see anyone do that. Indeed, I haven’t even seen anyone prove he’s a hate-monger. It’s like there’s some sort of massive Group Think going on, where everyone just feels compelled to hate David Horowitz, but no one can explain why. If there’s any side that appears to be caught up in irrational emotion, it appears to be those who oppose Mr. Horowitz, and if they ever hope to persuade anyone who doesn’t already agree with them, they ought to work on formulating actual arguments.

Mulligan!

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The Daily Tar Heel is reporting that the Board of Elections may consider “re-doing” the Student Body President race because of some problems with the voting software. There are several things to consider here. The first is the Student Code. In Title I, Chapter 9, Section 902 (10), under the heading of “Responsibilities,” it states, “The BOE shall have the ability to call for a re-election if a violation occurred that might have affected the outcome or compromised the integrity of the election.”

Now, the key word in this passage is “violation”. Does a technological failure that prevented students from voting constitute a violation? It is quite clear that whatever happened “affected the outcome” of the election, as the margin of victory was a mere four votes and the number of affected voters seems to be quite high (with several students apparently being unable to send in a ballot via email because the BOE’s inbox was full of provisional ballots).

However, the Code never actually defines what a violation is in Title I. However, in Title VI, Chapter 7, Section 701 E (4), there is a category of “Technology” violations. According to the Code, “This category shall include but not be limited to campaigning online in illegal ways.” Seeing as the definition here is very broad and there is little other guidance in the Code for a situation like this, one could plausibly interpret the present situation as being a technological violation in Title VI, which would necessitate a re-vote via Title I because of its affect on the outcome of the election.

So, at least in my humble opinion, I believe that a re-election is, in fact, necessary and the proper procedure to follow per the Code. We should not allow technological glitches that prevent students from voting from having a disproportionate impact on the outcome of our elections. While the Code isn’t exactly crystal clear, there is a plausible case to be made for a mulligan.