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130 leaders sign letter in support of Staton

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Chancellor Cecil Staton, Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs, Kieran Shanahan, chairman of the East Carolina Board of Trustees, former Chancellor Steve Ballard, UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith and others cut the ribbon outside of the new student center as East Carolina University on Monday afternoon.

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By Bobby Burns
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

About 130 people with ties to East Carolina University signed a letter dated Tuesday to UNC system officials in support of ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton.

The letter is addressed to UNC President Margaret Spellings, who will be stepping down, her successor Dr. Bill Roper, the UNC Board of Governors and the ECU Board of Trustees. It is signed by past and present members of the ECU Board of Trustees, Greenville’s mayor and members of the City Council, members of the city’s medical community, political and business leaders and members of ECU foundations and boards. 

It defends Staton against what it called unfair accusations since his hiring in 2016. It said accusations have been a continued distraction and hindered his ability to lead.

One of the biggest public criticisms has been his connection to the problems in the athletics department, the letter said. “These criticisms are simply symptomatic of today’s social media environment. In fact we argue that Dr. Staton has done an incredible job in working to bring back athletics with his hires of Dave Hart, Joe Dooley, Jon Gilbert and Mike Houston. To judge the Chancellor on what he has done for athletics is premature at best. We feel his recent hirings prove he has handled athletics as well as possible considering the mounting problems of the last few years.”

The letter asks that UNC officials allow Staton to continue in his position without continued threats. “It seems beneath this great institution for this to continue. It is time for this shameful episode in our university’s history to come to an end and for our Chancellor, Dr. Cecil Staton, to be supported and given every opportunity to lead our university to greatness.”

The letter also asks for the release of an evaluation conducted by the UNC system that the chancellor and community members reflects well on his performance.

A group of people who signed the letter have been considering a public show of support for the chancellor. A draft was shared via email with supports who began to sign on, sources said.

The letter was addressed to UNC officials a day after ECU opened its $122 million main campus student center. 

Jason Tyson, director of media relations with UNC, said Wednesday he had not seen the letter and was checking to see if it had been received.

 

January 8, 2019

To: President Margaret Spellings, Dr. Bill Roper, the UNC Board of Governors and the ECU Board of Trustees.

We represent a large number of ECU alumni and supporters who wish to come forward in total support of Dr. Cecil Staton. We agree with the ECU Board of Trustees assessment of Dr. Staton’s performance when they have twice weighed in with a vote of confidence for him. We are concerned that Dr. Staton has been under a cloud since his hiring with unfair accusations and investigations which have been a continued distraction and hindered his ability to lead.

With the positive things happening at ECU today we can only wonder what Dr. Staton might be able to accomplish if given the latitude to run the university as he has been charged to do. There has not been a week that he has not been faced with distracting criticism and threats. We feel this is unfair and has been a hindrance to the progress of the university.

One of the biggest public criticisms of Dr. Staton has been his connection to the problems in the athletics department, none of which he created. These criticisms are simply symptomatic of today’s social media environment. In fact we argue that Dr. Staton has done an incredible job in working to bring back athletics with his hires of Dave Hart, Joe Dooley, Jon Gilbert and Mike Houston. To judge the Chancellor on what he has done for athletics is premature at best. We feel his recent hirings prove he has handled athletics as well as possible considering the mounting problems of the last few years.

There have been continuing frivolous charges against Dr. Staton regarding questions about his hiring, the use of outside contractors, his role in the purchase of the Chancellor’s home and other items that have been repeatedly investigated by the BOG and he has been exonerated of any job threatening behavior each and every time. Why then do these things continue to surface as the reasons why he must be removed?

We are concerned that rumors persist that Chancellor Staton will be removed in spite of the support of the trustees and the people who know him best.

We feel it is time for the evaluation of the Chancellor to become public and we would like to offer our support to him. In fact, we would ask that, with the permission of the Chancellor, the 360 review recently finished be released so that it can become part of the record. It is confusing that a document designed and paid for by the university would not be available to those of us invested in the university. Many of us gave our time to be interviewed for the document and find it insulting that this document has been hidden from view since its publishing.

In short we are asking that Chancellor Station be allowed to continue in his position without continued threats. It seems beneath this great institution for this to continue. It is time for this shameful episode in our university’s history to come to an end and for our Chancellor, Dr. Cecil Staton, to be supported and given every opportunity to lead our university to greatness.

Our university is the ultimate engine for the economic success and health care needs of eastern North Carolina. Dr. Staton’s efforts in leading our successful comprehensive campaign, ECU’s rural prosperity initiative, increasing research and internationalization, and bringing talented people to leadership positions across our university support our conclusion that our chancellor must be given every opportunity to lead without harassment or inappropriate interference. His commitment to student success has been the hallmark of his tenure and the results are evident.

We call on Pirates everywhere, those in a position of governance and all friends of the university to join together in support of our Chancellor and his vision for our great university. Together we can accomplish much for our region and state and its citizens.

We, the undersigned, appreciate your time and understanding of this very important matter.

Respectfully,

Ken Chalk

Former ECU Board of Trustees

Former Chair ECU Foundation

Kay Chalk

Former Chair ECU Honors College Advancement Council

Former Chair ECU Women’s Roundtable

Scott Shook

Chairman NC Community College Board

ECU Board of Visitors

ECU Pirate Club Executive Committee

Karen Shook

Jim Mullen

ECU Foundation Board

Chair, ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

Pam Mullen

Former Women’s Roundtable member

Burney Warren

ECU Foundation

Bubba Rawl

ECU Foundation

Wil Wilkinson

ECU Foundation

Dr. Vanessa Workman

ECU Foundation

Al Hutzler

ECU Foundation

Steve R. Jones

Attorney

ECU Foundation

Don Brinkley

ECU Foundation

President of Harold Bate Foundation

P.J. Connelly

Mayor of Greenville

Ferrell Blount

Former Chair NC Republican Party

Dr. Wanda Bunch

Dr. Jim Galloway

ECU Foundation Board

College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

Bonnie Galloway

Former COE Advancement Council

Former ECU Alumni Association Board

Irwin Roberts

ECU Foundation

Mark Tipton

ECU Foundation

Former ECU Board of Trustees

Dan Nichols

Past President of ECU Pirate Club

Beth Nichols

Matt Slate

ECU Foundation

Mike Hughes

ECU Foundation

Former member ECU BOV

Steve Jones

ECU Foundation

Former Chair ECU Trustees

Fran Bryan

ECU Foundation

Kevin Monroe

ECU Foundation

Eddie Smith

Former UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees

Kara Blount

ECU Foundation

ECU Women’s Roundtable

David Fisher

Chair, ECU Foundation

Wayne Holloman

ECU Foundation

Sherry Holloman

ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

Reid Fogleman

ECU Foundation

Former Chair ECU Foundation

Heather Stepp

ECU Foundation

Mary Denkler Schoof

ECU Foundation

ECU Athletic Hall of Fame (Basketball)

Scott Evans

ECU Foundation

Margaret Ward

Former ECU Board of Trustees

ECU Foundation

Bill Blount

ECU Foundation

Mitchell Hunt

Former Chair ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

John McCarthy

ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

Dr. Marcus Albernaz

Former Chair Vidant Health

Phil Dixon

Former ECU Board of Trustees

Former UNC Board of Governors

Will Bell

Greenville City Council

Robert Rippy

Former UNC Board of Governors

Jonathan Brooks

ECU Board of Visitors

Tom Campbell

Host of NC Spin

Tom Southern

John Southern

Harvey Sharp Wooten

Former Co-Chair ECU College of Arts and Sciences Advancement Council

Dr. Robert Shaw

Jon Shaw

Randy Collier

Kelly Barnhill

Henry Hinton

Former Chair ECU Foundation

Former UNC Board of Governors

Debbie Hinton

Tim Martin

Pirate Club Chair

Walter Cates

ECU Board of Visitors

Kevin Davidson

President Cape Fear Pirate Club Chapter

Travis Burt

Recipient ECU Amethyst Award

Cassie Burt

Recipient ECU Amethyst Award

Timothy Willis

Member ECU Alumni Association Board of Directors

Thomas Peeler

Dr. Deidra Blanks

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Dr. Robin Peace

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Donna Phillips

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Michele Whaley

President of the ECU Parents Council

Tom Robinson

Chairman ECU Medical and Health Sciences Foundation

Alan Jones

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Lynn Garrison

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Carl Davis

Former Chairman ECU Board of Visitors

Former Chairman ECU Alumni Association Board of Directors

Martha Davis

Bradley Congleton

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Wanda Montano

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Vice chair ECU College of Health and Human Performance Advancement Council

Kevin Taylor

Member ECU Board of Visitors

Dave Englert

Former Member ECU Board of Visitors

Former Chairman of the ECU Alumni Association Board of Directors

Gail Englert

Reid Tyler

ECU Board of Visitors

David Bond

Donor/Supporter

Si Seymour

ECU Foundation

Pirate Club Executive Committee

Jimmy Creech

ECU Hall of Fame

Former Executive President Pirate Club

Danny Nichols

Immediate Past President Pirate Club

ECU Education Foundation Investment Advisory Committee

Beth Nichols

Carl Rogers

Former Executive President Pirate Club

ECU Education Foundation Investment Advisory Committee

Chair-Stadium Revitalization Advisory Committee

Connie Rogers

Walter Cates

ECU Board of Visitors

Garrett Blackwelder

Pirate Club Executive Committee

Kevin Davidson

President Cape Fear Pirate Club Chapter

Kathy Herring

Former member-Pirate Club Executive Committee

Glenn Hall

Vice President Pirate Club Executive Committee

Dick Willard

Ray Sharp

Donor/Supporter

Robert Maynard

Former member-Pirate Club Executive Committee

Richard Rogers

Roger Allen

John DeFriese

ECU Board of Visitors

Mike Steele

Dr. Jon Workman

Physician ENT

Phillip Herendeen

President, Pitt County Pirate Club Chapter

Taylor Herendeen

ECU Women’s Roundtable Board Member

President, Greenville Terpsichorean

Mitchell Hunt

ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

John McCarthy

ECU College of Arts & Sciences Advancement Council

Dr. Bryan Latham

ECU Foundation

Steve Cunanan

ECU Foundation

Dr. Walter Pories

ECU Foundation

Dr. Michael Waldrum

CEO Vidant Health

Reid Overcash

Former Chair ECU Board of Visitors

Dr. Bill Bogey

ECU Foundation

Former ECU Pirate Club Executive Committee

Robert Brinkley

Former Chair ECU Board of Trustees

Landon Minges

Former ECU Pirate Club Executive Committee

Steve Showfety

ECU Foundation Board

Former Chair ECU Board of Trustees

Jon Strickland

ECU Foundation Board

Sam Hylton

Will Litchfield

ECU Board of Visitors

Robert Maynard

ECU Board of Visitors

Lee Mulkey

ECU Board of Visitors

Max Joyner, Sr.

Former Chair ECU Board of Trustees

Donnie Bunn

Former ECU Pirate Club Executive Committee

Dr. Karla Jones

ECU Alumni Association Board of Directors

Henry Taylor

ECU Board of Visitors

Dr. Todd Kornegay

ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation Board of Directors

Trent McGee

Curtis Struyk

Former ECU Pirate Club Executive Committee

Brian Brown

Former NC House of Representatives

Dr. Paul Camnitz

Jill Camnitz

Jason Tomasula

Treasurer, ECU Alumni Assoc Board

Keith Fraizer

Vice Chair, ECU Alumni Assoc. Board

Mickey Foster

ECU Board of Visitors

Dale Holland

ECU Board of Visitors

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