Elizabeth City, N.C. – Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist, who has led his alma mater for nearly seven years, informed the campus community today that he is resigning his position and plans to formally retire from the University on June 30.
Gilchrist is the second ECSU official to resign in the past week and following the shakeup on campus since the arrest of residence security officer Anthony Butler in mid-April.
Katherine Lowe, an ECSU student, told NewsChannel 3 that starting in February, Butler used his position at the university to sexually assault her. She said when she filed a complaint with campus police, they did nothing to keep her safe.
Police Chief Sam Beamon was put on administrative leave after the State Bureau of Investigation started looking into the possibility of obstruction of justice and witness intimidation.
Beamon then resigned last Friday after Elizabeth City Police say they uncovered more than 120 crimes reported since 2007 that the school never investigated, including 18 sexual assaults.
This week, school officials say the university hired an outside consulting company to review the way it reports all crimes.
Colleges and universities are required under federal law to publicly report campus crimes.
When NewsChannel 3 checked ECSU’s crime statistics online, there were no sex offenses logged between 2009 and 2011.
We also found that ECSU did not report any sex offenses to the US Department of Education during that same time.
Lowe says she’s glad something is finally being done.
“Do you really want to go somewhere or have your sister or brother go somewhere where 126 crimes are being committed and nobody is saying anything? They’re going to wait until somebody’s dead before they say anything,” she says.
Gilchrist said his decision is in the best interests of ECSU, the University of North Carolina system, and his family.
UNC President Tom Ross will soon name an interim chancellor to lead the campus during the search for a permanent successor.
“It has been an absolute pleasure to lead this university, its faculty, staff and students on a path that continues to “Elevate Higher and Emerge Stronger,” Gilchrist said in announcing his decision to step down. “While I am grateful for the opportunity to have served over the last seven years, I am eagerly anticipating and look forward to spending more time with my family, along with the other opportunities that retirement will bring.”