Saturday News: Inclusion


UNC RENAMING BUILDINGS AFTER PEOPLE OF COLOR: UNC-Chapel Hill officially renamed a residence hall and the Student Affairs office building that have for decades honored individuals tied to white supremacy and racism. The two buildings will honor Hortense McClinton, a Black professor, and Henry Owl, an American Indian student, whose legacies at the university will now be physically established on campus. Aycock Residence Hall will now be known as McClinton Residence Hall. Carr Building, which houses the UNC-CH Student Affairs office, will now be the Henry Owl Building. “Hortense McClinton and Henry Owl were trailblazing pioneers who left an indelible legacy at Carolina,” Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement. “They embody the values that define our University, and naming these buildings after them marks an important step in building a campus community where everyone feels that they belong and can thrive.” Good job.

RALEIGH POLICE HIRE LGBTQ LIAISON TO IMPROVE SAFETY AND RESPONSES: The Raleigh Police Department is hiring its first LGBTQ liaison, a spokesperson confirmed Friday. Details about the position and its responsibilities are being finalized. An official announcement is expected in the coming weeks. Raleigh scored 69 points out of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2021 Municipal Equality Index. The report examines how well cities are doing at keeping their municipalities inclusive and safe for their LGBTQ residents. Not having an LGBTQ liaison cost the city 10 points on this year’s index. City Council member Jonathan Melton, who is gay, said not having a liaison has hurt Raleigh’s performance on the equality index for many years. The Durham Police Department announced its first LGBT liaison in September 2016. According to the department’s website, the liaison’s role is to “promote cooperation between the Durham Police Department and the community, while taking a leading role in building a vital link between the police and the LGBTQ community.” This is an important consideration, especially for people (like me) who aren't vulnerable just for who they are. Until you walk in somebody else's shoes, you just don't know.

APPEALS COURT SCREWED THE POOCH ON LEANDRO RULING: Plaintiffs in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit say Tuesday’s ruling by the state Court of Appeals that blocked the disbursal of $1.75 billion violated the rules of appellate procedure. The ruling came in response to an unusual request: a petition for a writ of prohibition from State Controller Linda Combs. Combs, who was appointed by former Gov. Pat McCrory, was not named in the lawsuit. But on Nov. 10, Superior Court Judge David Lee ordered her and other state officials to release $1.75 billion from state coffers to pay for the education reforms required in the lawsuit's settlement. The state defendants did not appeal the order. Normal appellate procedure calls for a 10-day window for parties to file briefs and for the judges to consider them. But in this case, the three-judge panel gave the plaintiffs just 24 hours to submit briefs in response to the petition. They were due Tuesday morning, about eight hours before the panel issued the requested writ. “The court absolutely defied the rules of appellate procedure in ordering us to respond within 24 hours,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Elizabeth Haddix, with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The day the ruling was issued, Nov. 30, was the final day of the three judges’ service on the petitions panel. Court of Appeals Clerk Eugene Soar confirmed that the judges who make up the petitions panel change at the beginning of each month and that the identities of the judges on each month's panel are kept confidential to prevent judge-shopping. So they rushed it to make sure it was a Republican majority hearing the case. That alone screams for the NC Supreme Court to step in, and the disbarment of whoever coordinated this travesty of justice.

THEY SHOULD LOCK HER UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY: Jurors at the sex-abuse trial of Ghislaine Maxwell are expected Friday to see a law enforcement videotape of the interior of a Florida estate where prosecutors say she and financier Jeffrey Epstein exploited underage victims when the pair lived there together. The video was shot during a 2005 raid at the Palm Beach home, which was decorated with nude photos and paintings of young women — decor that federal prosecutors in Manhattan claim is proof of a sexualized atmosphere encouraged by Maxwell, Epstein's “partner in crime.” Prosecutors have alleged the British socialite groomed teen girls by taking them on shopping trips and movie outings, talking to them about their lives and encouraging them to accept financial help from Epstein. The government also says she helped to create a sexualized atmosphere by talking with the girls about sex and encouraging them to give Epstein massages. A woman identified as “Jane” testified this week that she had sexual interactions with Epstein at age 14 with Maxwell in the room and sometimes participating. While this might pale in comparison to much of the human trafficking going on in the world, in many ways it's more sinister.

FINALLY, THE PARENTS OF A SCHOOL SHOOTER ARE FACING CHARGES: A Michigan prosecutor has filed charges against the parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his classmates at an Oakland County high school this week, a rare move she said was justified by the “egregious” facts of the case. James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of shooting suspect Ethan Crumbley, face four counts each of involuntary manslaughter, Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald announced Friday. McDonald said the Crumbleys bought a semiautomatic handgun as a gift for their son who days later allegedly used it to kill four of his Oxford High School classmates and wound seven people on Nov. 30 in the deadliest school shooting in more than three years. “While the shooter was the one who entered the high school and pulled the trigger, there were other individuals who contributed to the events,” McDonald said. The Crumbleys’ attorneys said in a statement that the couple had left town the night of the shooting “for their own safety” and would return to be arraigned. Undersheriff Mike McCabe of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said Friday afternoon that officers were still searching for the pair. The decision to file charges against the parents of a school-shooting suspect comes after investigators say they identified multiple failures to act on Ethan Crumbley’s increasingly troubling behavior in the days before the shooting. Authorities said that James Crumbley bought the 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol on Nov. 26, while an employee of Acme Shooting Goods in Oxford, Mich., confirmed that Ethan accompanied his father for the purchase, McDonald said. Jennifer Crumbley and her son both appeared to brag about the new gun in various social media posts McDonald cited. Shortly after his father bought the gun, Ethan Crumbley posted a photo of it to his Instagram page writing a caption interspersed with heart emoji that read, “just got my new beauty today, Sig Sauer nine millimeter. Any questions I will answer.” Jennifer Crumbley captioned a post of her own on social media that read: “Mom and son day testing out his new Christmas present.” McDonald told The Washington Post that the post was a reference to a visit the two made to a gun range. Hoo boy, I need to take a walk in the woods...