Friday News: R.I.P.


CONTROVERSIAL UNC-W PROFESSOR MIKE ADAMS FOUND DEAD IN HIS HOME: Deputies responded to a wellness check at Adams’ home address and found him deceased. NHCSO is investigating the death, but has not released any additional information, and could not confirm cause of death or if foul play was suspected. The longtime professor of criminology and sociology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) was set to retire next week as part of a $500,000 settlement. The settlement came as Adams was facing growing criticism for his social media posts and UNCW, in particular Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli, was under increasing pressure to terminate his employment. Several petitions with around 85,000 total signatures called for his termination, and letters from his colleagues and fellow criminologists denounced his actions and called for his firing. Due to Adams’ tenured status, and his previous legal victory over UNCW (which cost the UNC system roughly $700,000), the university opted for a negotiated exit.

UNC BOG SAYS IT WILL DECIDE IF AND WHEN SCHOOLS CLOSE, AND NO TUITION REFUNDS: At a media briefing after the meeting, Board Chair Randy Ramsey said the system may evaluate each university differently, because some may be in hot spots for cases and hospitalizations. But the board wants to make sure a campus doesn’t make the decision to close on its own. “We are a system of 17 campuses,” Ramsey said. “We want to ensure the leadership of the system is very closely involved in any decision that may impact those campuses.” At the meeting, board members recognized that how courses are delivered this fall may need to change in response to COVID-19 getting worse. They expect questions about tuition and fees if courses move. In a split vote, the board affirmed its stance that tuition and fees won’t change and will not be refunded if there are any changes in instructional format for any part of the 2020-21 academic year. The issue was highly debated, both in the budget committee meeting Wednesday and among the full board Thursday.

NO ALCOHOL SOLD AFTER 11PM IN CHARLOTTE AND SMALLER TOWNS: Officials in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and a handful of other towns are restricting alcohol sales after 11 p.m. to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The Charlotte Observer reports that the ban starts Thursday night. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department leaders have said they will enforce the order. Other towns that said they will enact such an order include Davidson, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville. Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said officials are enacting the restrictions after seeing videos of people in restaurants and bars not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. “It is unfortunate that we must take these steps due to the poor decisions by some bad actors,” Diorio said during a news conference. “We hope that by taking this step, we can begin to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” The order is set to run until Aug. 7. But it could be rescinded earlier or extended past that date.

TRUMP CANCELS RNC GALA IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA OVER VIRUS CONCERNS: Trump had already moved the convention from North Carolina and dramatically scaled back its programming and attendance in Jacksonville in an effort to keep it on track. But the nights of ’infomercial” programming and parties appeared to be both a health and political risk to Trump and his advisers, who feared that going forward with the event, set to draw more than 10,000 people, would ultimately backfire on the president. “It’s a different world, and it will be for a little while,” Trump said, explaining his decision during one of his newly resuscitated White House briefings on the coronavirus. “To have a big convention is not the right time.” A small subset of GOP delegates will still formally renominate Trump on Aug. 24 in Charlotte, the original host city before Trump moved the ceremonial portions of the GOP convention to Florida last month amid a dispute with North Carolina’s Democratic leaders over holding an event indoors with maskless supporters. That event is scheduled to last just four hours in the morning. Trump’s plans for the Florida convention were scaled back almost as quickly as the move was announced, as virus cases spiked in Florida and much of the country over the last month.

MILLIONS FACE EVICTION AS FEDERAL MORATORIUM IS SET TO EXPIRE: Enhanced unemployment benefits that have kept many afloat will expire soon. The recession triggered by the pandemic is expected to be deeper and longer than initially forecast as coronavirus cases surge across the country. And this week, a federal moratorium that had protected an estimated 12 million renters from eviction for four months is expiring. “This is a cliff we don’t have to go over,” said David M. Dworkin, chief executive of the National Housing Conference, which has advocated for billions of dollars in rental assistance. Of the 110 million Americans living in rental households, 20 percent are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30, according to an analysis by the Covid-19 Eviction Defense Project, a Colorado-based community group. African American and Hispanic renters are expected to be hit hardest. Some Democrats have called for a $100 billion national rental-assistance program and Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) has unveiled a sweeping housing plan that would ban evictions and foreclosures for a year, while giving tenants up to 18 months to pay back missed payments. But neither idea has gained traction with Senate Republicans.



Did not sleep well last night.

After writing so much negative stuff about Adams (here and elsewhere), it's hard to escape the feeling that some of those words contributed to him taking his life. That hasn't been determined yet, but apparently police were performing a "well-check" at his home, and that usually doesn't happen unless somebody who knows him is concerned about mental health issues.

The rational part of my brain kept telling me he probably never even read that stuff, or if he did, he didn't pay much attention to it. And that his suicide (if that's what happened) was likely due to other factors, like losing his teaching job and maybe getting some rejections from other schools he wanted to move to.

But that didn't chase away all the demons.

Keep in mind....

... that his public racist and bigoted diatribes may have just been a symptom of some deeper, more troubling issues.

One thing we don't know is if he displayed other types of behaviors that contributed to the university seeking a settlement to get him away from students.

I've seen this happen before. At a university I worked at, a tenured professor was well known for his racism, bigotry, and shocking treatment of women in his department. What wasn't so well known were his issues with drug addiction and his sometimes violent mood swings.

The university, rather than dismiss him and face a messy legal battle where he would have cried "Free speech!", simply put him in isolation, taking him off all university and department committees, removing him from a position of supervising others and from teaching any classes. He died a couple of years later from a massive heart attack, likely caused by his years of drug abuse.

Like the professor I knew, Adams may have just been a ticking time bomb, ready to do harm to himself or others. And absolutely nothing being said by the public about his situation would change that.

Rest easy

This has nothing to do with anything anyone has written here at BlueNC.

The guy used his position as a faculty member in the UNC system to promote bigotry and racism. You were right to bring that betrayal to our attention.

It's a testament to your character that you're concerned and that you said so publicly. Let it go.

Nazis shot themselves allies approached. Don't think for a second that written words of truth influenced any of their actions....1945 or now