ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) - Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Willie Gilchrist announced his retirement Friday, in an email to the University community.
Gilchrist's announcement comes amidst scrutiny of how ECSU has handled crime reports. WAVY.com looked into reports ECSU sent to the Department of Education since 2007 and learned police listed zero campus sexual assaults between 2007 and 2011. Elizabeth City Police confirm they are investigating 18 campus sexual assaults since 2007. The University has hired a private security firm, Margolis Healy and Associates, to conduct an independent review.
"We were not aware that these investigations were not being done," Gilchrist said in a May 13 interview.
ECSU Police Chief Sam Beamon was placed on administrative leave on April 25 stemming from the campus' handling of a sexual assault complaint. He later resigned. WAVY.com learned four campus officers are also off the job due to the ongoing investigation.
"I'm concerned, because I don't know what's going to happen in the fall," said ECSU senior Mia Harrell.
Students will come back to school as campus officials continue to make changes.
"It makes me worried, because I walk this campus every day," Harrell said. "There are people walking around doing this (committing crimes) to people and the police station isn't doing anything about it."
The university is required to send the federal government crime stats, but there were crimes omitted from a report.
"I'm very concerned as a parent," said Jacqueline Miller. "My daughter is here and things here haven't been taken care of properly. I would hope that in the future that kids concerns will be taken more seriously by the administration as well as the school police department," Miller added.
Gilchrist was making an annual salary of $220,626.
WAVY.com obtained a copy of Gilchrist's retirement letter:
Dear ECSU Community,
I have had forty wonderful years in my career providing quality service and vision in public education. I have now come full circle, having spent the past seven years in service to my alma mater. It has been my pleasure working with the faculty, staff, and students in leading ECSU on a path to elevate higher and emerge stronger.
I feel it's the right moment for me to spend quality time and energy with my family. Today I am tendering my resignation, and will formally retire from ECSU effective June 30, 2013.
I would like to thank my family — Jacqueline, Wyvondalynn, Steven, Willie, Nathan, T'sha, and Bailey — for the love and support they have given me. And I want to thank everyone on this campus, and in the Elizabeth City community, for the devotion you have shown to this institution during my time here.
Willie J. Gilchrist
UNC President Tom Ross will name an interim chancellor to the lead the campus during the search for a permanent successor.
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