Vigil Honors Fired UNCG Employees

Vigil Honors Fired UNCG Employees

9:15pm Oct 28, 2014
Members of the UNCG community gather Tuesday, Oct. 28 in support of three fired employees who are also facing felony charges.
WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

Dozens of people gathered on UNC Greensboro’s campus Tuesday to show their support for two photographers and their supervisor who were fired last month and now face criminal charges.

The vigil in front of the Elliott University Center included 22 minutes of silence, one minute for each of the felony charges connected with the case.

Rachel Briley, head of the university's MFA program in theatre for the youth, says the silence moved her to tears.

"My heart was crying, and literally I was crying," she says. "Tears were rolling down my face as I thought about the implications for what this decision means for people I know, people I love, people who have done tremendous work for this university. To see what is potentially in their future is heartbreaking. It's absolutely heartbreaking."

Dhruv Pathek , a junior history major, says the university has not been forthcoming about the case, and therefore many of his fellow classmates don’t know much about it. The vigil was a chance for the community to learn more, he says.

"This was the first time in my three years here seeing all these faculty members come together under a singular unilateral cause in order to stand up for something so important," says Pathek. "I think just standing together with the 100 or so people that were here meant a lot."

The three former employees  - Chris English, David Wilson and Lyda Carpen - were arrested amid allegations that university property was used for a private business.

In a statement released to WFDD, UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady says she understands and respects the desire for campus community to show support for their colleagues. But she defends the university’s handling of the case. 

"It has troubled me deeply to see UNCG employees charged with crimes, but we were obligated under the law to report what we found to law enforcement authorities," she says. "The District Attorney has vested authority over legal matters, and we will accept and support any decisions he makes to resolve the criminal charges. With regard to the University's personnel decisions, I am confident that the grievance process will provide a fair and objective review of those actions."

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