Elizabeth City, N.C. – NewsChannel 3 is questioning the governor of North Carolina about the investigation at Elizabeth City State University.
The investigation began after a student reported she was sexually assaulted by a residence security officer. She says campus police did nothing.
In the last few weeks, two top school officials have resigned and city police found that the university did not investigate more than 120 reported crimes in the last six years.
Governor Pat McCrory made an appearance in Elizabeth City and we asked him what he’s doing about the situation.
“The first responsibility of government is to protect its people,” he says.
Gov. McCrory told NewsChannel 3 he’s aware of what’s going on but won’t get involved unless requested by local officials.
“I will say this, that the Board of Governors, the people I’m appointing for the trustees and that are now being appointed to the Board of Governors, they’re going to be asking the tough questions on every university campus to make sure money is being spent wisely and efficiently,” he says.
But, NewsChannel 3 wanted to know what he’s going to ensure the safety of students at ECSU. We asked several times, and got a similar response each time.
“Again, I repeat what I said. The safety of students on any college campus is foremost and I know your mayor believes that and hopefully the changes will be made and the university will recognize that priority also,” he says.
Elizabeth City Mayor Joseph Peel says students should feel confident now that Police Chief Sam Beamon and Chancellor Willie Gilchrist both stepped down.
“Why shouldn’t they feel comfortable now coming forward if they have a complaint and not fear that it will be swept under the rug like some of the others? I think you have a whole new leadership there. I think you got people that are working to address all those issues that weren’t addressed. People are trying to fix what was broken” Peel says.
But, what was broken could cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s because the university could owe $35,000 for each crime not reported as required by federal law.
“That could be upwards of three, four, $500,000 dollars so that’s significant for taxpayers because somebody is going to have to pay that back,” Peel says.
There is specific deadline for the review of the campus police department and the review of crime reporting procedures by and outside consulting firm are likely to continue throughout the summer.