Statement About Police Activity at the Confederate Monument from Derek Kemp and Jeff McCracken

November 9, 2017

Chancellor Folt has asked us to clarify the role of campus police officers at the Confederate Monument on our campus in light of misinformation that has been in circulation. There’s nothing more important to our University and our police force than the safety and wellbeing of every member of our campus community. We care deeply about our students and our community’s rights to free speech. Our officers do their best to protect the safety and freedoms of everyone in our community.


The safety of our campus is always our highest priority, and out of necessity, UNC Police have maintained a heightened presence around the monument to ensure that members of our community are safe and able to protest peacefully and have their free speech rights protected. By nature, public college campuses present unique challenges for campus police because members of our campus community and outside groups often come together to protest or to participate in other activities. Specifically, we have been and remain concerned about our students getting caught in the middle of violent conflict similar to that experienced in Charlottesville, especially in the presence of the monument. To protect the safety of people on our campus, police response sometimes involves the use of plain-clothes or undercover officers. Although deploying undercover officers on our campus is rare, it is a standard policing practice that has been used on other university campuses (i.e., when threats associated with public spaces are credible, crowds have formed, tensions are high or unknown individuals with questionable intent are on campus). While we understand that people would like information about specific instances, we simply cannot share every detail with the public that would compromise the work of our police.


The recent use of an undercover officer on our campus was limited in both time and scope and was necessary because of extraordinary circumstances that included the very real potential for a violent outbreak at any time. Our officers do not monitor the content of any protest beyond the public safety implications nor do they create reports about students or their law-abiding activities. Police officers are there to protect participants’ safety and listen to their concerns. It was never our intention to create a situation that would suggest otherwise. If you have read or made assumptions to the contrary about our campus, they are not true.


We must always be concerned about public safety risks, and our officers have spent hours in training to ensure our campus community remains safe. Over recent years campus police have worked tirelessly to ensure that peaceful demonstrations and freedom of speech are preserved and protected. Our officers are an important part of our community and feel as much a part of this campus as all of us. If you have questions, please contact one of us.


Derek Kemp, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management

919-962-3795 or


Jeff McCracken, Chief of UNC Police

919-966-5730 or


Statement on DTH Media Corp., et al. v. UNC-Chapel Hill appeal

May 30, 2017

Statement on DTH Media Corp., et al. v. UNC-Chapel Hill appeal

“We believe Judge Baddour already ruled correctly in this case by affirming the University’s responsibility to protect the privacy rights and educational records of all students. We look forward to presenting the University’s arguments and evidence during the appeal process and bringing this case to a fair conclusion.”

Joel Curran

Vice Chancellor for Communications

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Previous Statement from Joel Curran:


Statement on DTH Media Corp., et al. v. UNC-Chapel Hill

May 9, 2017

Statement on DTH Media Corp., et al. v. UNC-Chapel Hill

“We are pleased with Judge Baddour’s decision. The University has a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the privacy rights and educational records of all students. The ruling allows us to continue to uphold that responsibility and protects the identity of the reporting parties who put their trust in the University’s process. Our position is directed by federal privacy law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA) and informed by the experiences of reporting parties, witnesses, investigators, and counselors.”

Joel Curran
Vice Chancellor for Communications
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Title IX Records Request: Carolina Responds

October 28, 2016


The University today responded to a request made by The Daily Tar Heel seeking sexual assault-related records and the names of those found responsible through a campus disciplinary process.

The request was sent to UNC-Chapel Hill administrators from DTH Editor-in-Chief, Jane Wester and Director/General Manager, Betsy O’Donovan, last month.

Vice Chancellor for Communications and Public Affairs Joel Curran responded to the DTH request, which had also been endorsed by a coalition of North Carolina media.

In light of the potential interest on this topic, the University is posting Curran’s response here.




screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-05-38-pmOctober 28, 2016


Jane Wester, Editor
Betsy O’Donovan, Director/General Manager
The Daily Tar Heel
151 E. Rosemary Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Dear Jane and Betsy:

I’m writing in response to The Daily Tar Heel’s September 30 request and Jane’s October 2 column (“We should know who’s found responsible for sexual assault”). The former seeks records “in connection with a person having been found responsible for rape, sexual assault or any related or lesser included sexual misconduct” by the Honor Court, the Committee on Student Conduct or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office. The latter said, “I badly want to know how many people my school has found responsible for sexual assault and what consequences those people are getting.”

On the one hand, I can understand a student journalist’s instinct to want to know the identity of a fellow student who has been through an adjudication process about an issue that’s so important on college campuses including Carolina. I also appreciate the interest in advocating for as much transparency as possible about the processes and policies that affect the lives of students so profoundly when it involves sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

However, the University must once again respectfully disagree with the DTH’s assertion that releasing the names of students “found responsible” in these cases constitutes a “public service.” Rather, we’re firmly convinced that such disclosures would have quite the opposite – and devastating – impact on victims, as well as the campus community. Our point of view is directed by federal privacy law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and informed by many opinions (some of which the DTH has reported; for example, “Survivors say releasing records on campus sexual assault is a delicate balance”) held by victims, witnesses, investigators, counselors and others.

Although I’ve previously articulated the University’s position in two statements provided to the DTH since September 30th, for the benefit of those who signed on to your request and for the record, following is a summary with some additional context:

  • Like all campuses nationwide, Carolina has a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the privacy rights and educational records of all students. FERPA protects all education records from disclosure; courts have found that student conduct investigations that fall within Title IX are education records. Title IX investigation records are protected from disclosure by FERPA. In addition, FERPA permits, but doesn’t compel universities to disclose the name of a student, the violation committed, and the sanction imposed if the student is found to have violated rules or policies for a violent crime or forcible sex offense. Among leading public and private universities that are Carolina’s peer campuses, we’re not aware of any others that have publicly disclosed the names of students found responsible in these cases under this exception to FERPA. Furthermore, we’re not aware of any institutions that have a policy of always disclosing identities and offenses under the FERPA exception. We don’t believe Carolina students should be subject to different standards than their peers on other campuses nationwide.
  • Carolina spent the last several years taking a comprehensive look at how our campus approaches all aspects of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. Those changes and the resources available to students have been well documented on our website, Paramount to those efforts is providing a private process in which victims can file reports, request accommodations, and receive compassionate care.
  • Releasing names of those found responsible in sexual assault or misconduct cases will inevitably lead to disclosures about the identity of victims who put their trust in the University’s process and don’t want their identities revealed or discovered for any reason. It also could compel individuals found responsible to publicly air concerns in a manner that’s at odds with the University’s desire to preserve the confidentiality and reputational interests of everyone who is involved in a case. The potential for public disclosure also threatens to severely undermine the University’s efforts to encourage individuals to report these cases and would have a chilling effect on their participation in the Title IX process. There is the real risk that disclosure would re-traumatize victims who already decided it’s in their own best interest to put a sexual assault incident behind them. We found it interesting that an October 25 DTH story, “Survivors have many options in reporting sexual assault,” included this sentence: “Other reasons for initiating the investigation from the school and not the police was because she wanted to keep her privacy and thought the school’s investigation could result in a more helpful outcome of other survivors of sexual assault.”
  • The 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. (For context, visit Those increases in reports followed the policy changes and expansive efforts to communicate with students about streamlined processes and the availability of more support services. We’re concerned that the disclosures you seek would erode the confidentiality of the process and negatively affect students’ willingness to report in the future.
  • We’re also concerned about the impact that reporting names could have in jeopardizing the privacy rights of others, including the witnesses who play vital roles in Title IX investigations, as well as the accused.
  • Universities are not courts of criminal law – where the accused has an absolute right to counsel regardless of their ability to pay for legal services, crimes must be proven by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the names of people found guilty of crimes are a matter of public record. Campuses must follow different laws at the federal and state levels regarding the standard of evidence for evaluating reports and protecting students’ privacy rights. The federal government requires campuses to run their own Title IX processes and to use a preponderance of the evidence – meaning more likely than not – standard. The University has a compelling interest to ensure that its process is as effective as possible in serving the campus community. And that point leads back to our concern about the fact that the inevitable disclosure of victims’ names will erode trust in the entire process.

Carolina is committed to providing as much information as we can about issues that affect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff. However, as noted above, federal privacy law requires the University to protect the educational records of students (beyond basic public directory information) and consider the well-being of the campus community. The University collects and discloses a great deal of information about crimes committed on or near campus, including those involving sexual assault. That publicly available information includes incident reports created by our Department of Public Safety when investigating potential crimes, as well as the summary statistics that appear in the annual security report and a new report produced for the first time last April by the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC).

The annual security report is available here with additional context about the federal requirements to report crime data under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Those data now include reports required by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.

The EOC’s first annual report for 2014-2015 includes a section called “Reports” that summarizes the number of formal investigations and allegations about prohibited conduct, including interpersonal violence, sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, or stalking. The accompanying charts provide totals and the number of outcomes, policy violations, and voluntary resolutions. Of 18 allegations of misconduct, 11 resulted in findings of policy violations or voluntary resolutions. Where policy violations were found for reports of Title IX violations and related misconduct, the report noted that the following sanctions and corrective actions were issued to students, often in combination, including: expulsion, indefinite suspension, probation, orders of no-contact, behavior management counseling, community service, written apology, and housing restrictions. Consistent with University practice, the report did not disaggregate violation or sanction information any further to prevent identifying individuals.

Finally, the University has previously fully complied with its responsibilities under federal and state laws to disclose public information and public records on this topic. There’s a wealth of information about the University’s public records policy and how we respond to requests for public records that we can provide at





cc:  Chancellor Carol L. Folt
Vice Chancellor Mark Merritt
Vice Chancellor Felicia A. Washington
Associate Vice Chancellor Becci Menghini
Vice Chancellor Winston Crisp
Director of Student Conduct Aisha Pridgen
Senior Director of Public Records Gavin Young
Rick Gall, WRAL-TV
Aysu Basaran, WRAL-TV
Randall Kerr, WRAL-TV
Rick Thames, The Charlotte Observer
Adam Weinstein, Fusion
Bob Ashley, The Durham Herald-Sun
Susan Harper, Indy Week
Jeffrey Billman, Indy Week
John Drescher, The News & Observer
Steven Doyle, The Greensboro News & Record
Brent Wolfe, WUNC-FM
Greg Collard, WFAE
Roxann Elliott, The Student Press Law Center









The More Things Change…

August 2, 2016

To paraphrase the French critic, journalist, and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphone Karr, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

In the wake of changes reflected in recent legislation requiring that all scooters / mopeds registered in North Carolina now carry liability insurance (House Bill 148), many are wondering how this will be enforced (if at all) at UNC. UNC holds the legal, legitimate operation of moped / scooter to be “self-evident,” in that operators of any vehicle with valid parking at UNC—from a cars to a scooters—must already have provided proof of insurance and registration. (See Section 3-18 of the UNC Parking Ordinance)

Yes, for about 28,000 moped owners in North Carolina, laws over the past two years mean a bit more paperwork, but the majority of mopeds and scooters operating at UNC are already in compliance with North Carolina State Laws.

This is not to say that owners can’t be cited at UNC. UNC Transportation and Parking can and will cite those parking without a permit or in non-designated spots (i.e., disability access-ways) and report unregistered vehicles to UNC Police. And police officers may not specifically target violators, but they can and will cite scooter / moped operators without registration when given probable cause (i.e., if an unregistered scooter is involved in traffic stop or a collision)—much the same way UNC Police would cite any unregistered vehicle.

Still the nearly 400 students and employees with valid UNC moped / scooter parking permits (who have already insured and registered their vehicle) will not notice any differences as a result of new laws, and that means keeping the “change” in their pockets.


Randy Young

UNC Media Relations

UNC Police/Transportation & Parking

Viagem Segura! – “Safe Travels!”

July 27, 2016

Viagem Segura means “safe travels” in Portuguese – a sentiment I want to convey to some UNC School of Media and Journalism students who are “limbering up” for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games. On Thursday, a group of 30 student journalists depart for Rio, where they will spend the next three weeks working for the Olympic News Service (ONS)

One of two college groups reporting for the ONS, the students will clock 12 hour days while living in the media village and working alongside professional journalists from around the world. They’ll cover assigned beats and file stories at the Olympic Media Center for NC media like WRAL, The News & Observer, WUNC-FM, The Herald-Sun and North Carolina News Network. A number of student athletes in the group will even be covering THEIR sport at the games – Soccer, Track & Field, Lacrosse and Fencing.

And this is not the first time MJ School students have worked for the ONS  – Tar Heels also covered the Olympics in Beijing!

It’s the school’s premiere resources and rich history of excellence and opportunity that have prepared these students for this moment. As a proud alum myself, I can’t help but brag on this six-time Hearst Journalism Awards national championship-winning program that also helped mold me into a communications professional.

The students going to Rio represent the diverse disciplines the school offers: Writing, TV & Radio, Multimedia & Photography and PR. They also represent the numerous on-campus journalism opportunities the school and University support: The Daily Tar Heel, Carolina Connection, Reese News Labs, Carolina Week and Sports Xtra. Perhaps most importantly, they are representative of Carolina’s commitment to access and affordability. Funding from an anonymous donor is supplementing each student’s trip and Carolina Covenant is traveling participating Covenant scholars at no cost aside from incidentals.

The Office of Communications and Public Affairs is among the many organizations using these talented students to support our UNC Olympic coverage. We can’t wait to share their work with you on


MC VanGraafeiland
UNC-Chapel Hill Media Manager


Safety and Campus Security – Moving Ahead with “One Button”

July 11, 2016

In late June the University tested its emergency sirens and emergency communication notification procedures, which is called the Alert Carolina System (ACS). The well-publicized test, which was a success, verified that newly installed ACS equipment and software were working properly.

This is all part of the Initial Emergency Notification Automation project, called the One Button solution, which has streamlined the activation of the outdoor warning sirens and automatic distribution of mass text messages, emails and social media posts.

Now, with the simple press of a single button, the previous 15-plus minute process required to activate all systems and notifications has been reduced to less than two minutes. Follow-on communications, to provide additional updates, will still be crafted and sent depending on the specifics of the situation.

The system improvements, led by Information Technology Services (ITS), were well described by Matthew Mauzy, the overall project leader and IT manager at the ITS control center, in a recent Daily Tar Heel article.

In brief, the benefits of the One Button solution are:

  • One Button minimizes the opportunity for human error in the initial activation of the system.
  • The improvement ensures siren activations are immediately accompanied by explanatory text and email messages.
  • The creation of an infrastructure to support additional notification methods, including desktop alerts and beacons, which are under evaluation and consideration.

The One Button solution is part of the University’s ongoing commitment to campus safety and emergency readiness. Thanks to One Button, Carolina is more prepared should the Alert Carolina System need to be activated in the future.


Michael John
UNC-Chapel Hill Media Manager




Media Swarm to Zika Awareness Event at Student Union

July 1, 2016

It was all about mosquitoes at the Pit yesterday, when Chancellor Carol L. Folt hosted a Zika awareness event outside the Student Union.

Experts across campus fielded questions from several broadcast and print media, who came to inform their viewers and readers about the most up-to-date research and information about Zika.

If you are taking count – and we are! – reporters from WNCN, Time Warner Cable, The Herald Sun, AP Raleigh, Daily Tar Heel, The Gazette and WCHL covered the event.

And there was no shortage of people to talk to!

UNC Global, Environment, Health and Safety, UNC School of Medicine, Health Sciences Library and the Campus Health Travel Clinic talked to students, faculty and staff about issues that are at the forefront of people’s minds: pregnancy concerns, Zika prevalence around the world, what Carolina has done to prepare should there be a case on campus, and everything from how to apply mosquito repellent and make your home and yard safe to how to report standing water on campus.

Love it when our campus pools its experts and incredible resources to help serve the public!

Inside the Student Union, there was standing room only for presentations by public health experts, featuring Dr. Colleen Bridger from Orange County, Dr. Randall Williams from the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr. Aravinda de Silva from UNC School of Medicine. Chancellor Folt moderated questions from the audience, which turned out to be a huge success.

I never asked my science-related question (I’ll be sure to track down our speakers one way or another), but I will ask this: How were our speakers so engaging while packing all that practical information in five-minute presentations each? Incredible.

And if it weren’t enough to hand out free bug spray at the event, Chancellor Folt handed out free ice cream after the presentations. Not the most usual combination, but one that made for a great event.

We have lots more to share, so be sure to buzz back next week!

See you soon!

Thania Benios
Health & Sciences Editor




Clarification Regarding the Student Stores RFP Process

October 15, 2015

Bradley Ives, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises, writes to clarify several points in the Daily Tar Heel article, Faculty Executive Committee Discusses Student Stores’ Fate, published on Oct. 12:


The article states that in Monday’s faculty executive committee meeting Vice Chancellor Fajack and I both mentioned several ways that Follett could increase the UNC Student Stores’ profit that goes toward scholarships. I want to reiterate that we have made no decision about whether to outsource, much less have we focused on one potential firm. We are conducting a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, in which any party – including the existing staff of Student Stores – may submit a proposal. Accordingly, we are conscious of referencing specific firms and instead only speak in general terms about potential bidders.

Of most concern is the statement attributed to me, “Ives said cuts in personnel are likely if the store is privatized, but it would help to reduce costs.” In my recollection, that is not a complete representation of what I said. When asked how an outside firm could make more money, I responded that they could, among other things, save costs by providing certain services – such as marketing, human resources and accounting – centrally. The article did not include my follow-up statement, which was that our staff currently providing those services will be retained in the new service delivery center we are creating in the Division of Finance and Administration.

As we work through this process, treating our employees fairly is one of our main concerns, along with increasing funds to support need-based scholarships and continuing to provide a high-level of service to campus.




The College Scorecard: What does it mean for Carolina?

September 21, 2015

The White House recently released the College Scorecard online.  We’ve received a fair amount of requests for our comments about the new website, and our Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions, Stephen M. Farmer, has penned the following about it:

“We’ve worked hard at UNC-Chapel Hill to help students and their families understand what they can expect of us – not just the support we’ll provide them and the amount we’ll ask them to pay, but also the experiences they’ll have in their classes and far beyond.

“The scorecard is brand new, and we’re still exploring it.  But we welcome any tool that helps students see us and other schools more clearly, so that they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about their education.

“We hope that students won’t stop with the scorecard.  Statistics help, but so does experience.  We think students can learn important things about our community by talking or corresponding with us or by visiting when they can.  Getting to know people can make the data in the scorecard come alive.

“We support this effort to help students and their families see us more clearly, just as we appreciate the changes in the FAFSA that will make it easier for students to apply for aid earlier.  We are on the side of students, and we want to help them get to where they need to be, even if their paths lead them away from Chapel Hill.

“For this reason, we’re glad to be the headquarters for the Carolina College Advising Corps, a public service of the University that places recent Carolina graduates as college and financial-aid advisers in high schools statewide.  Through this program, this year we’re serving 53,000 student at 64 high schools – not necessarily to recruit them to UNC-Chapel Hill, but to help them complete admissions and financial-aid applications and enroll at schools that will serve them well.”