_D5C5045brianby Brian Clarey

I’m sure that UNCG Chancellor Linda Brady’s announcement of her intention to retire at the end of the school year had nothing at all to do with the ugly tornado of vendetta and obfuscation surrounding the treatment of those who became known as the UNCG 3.

Lyda Carpen, Chris English and David Wilson were accused of working a side business during company time at UNCG’s University Relations Department. The charges carry felony weight, meaning that if convicted, Carpen, English and Wilson face jail time and the career and personal hits that come with that status.

Reporting by the News & Record suggested that Associate Vice Chancellor Paul Mason may have been pursuing a personal vendetta against the photographers and copywriter. I have known Wilson for years and can personally attest to his talent for pushing people’s buttons.

And in ensuing coverage, Chancellor Brady seemed to contradict herself. She told faculty in a memo sent to staff, faculty and students on Oct. 2: “The charges stemming from this investigation were determined and brought forward by the Guilford County District Attorney’s office, not UNCG.” UNCG Board Chairwoman Susan Safran echoed that assertion in a statement from the trustees. But Assistant District Attorney Howard Neumann told the N&R that it was UNCG police who brought the evidence to his office’s attention.

The cover-up is always worse than the crime.

From where I’m sitting it looks like a little bit of a witch-hunt, no doubt exacerbated by Wilson’s contrarian personality. Wilson had an administrative complaint on file against Mason when he was terminated. But being a pain in the ass, last time I checked, is not grounds for dismissal, particularly in a state job. And with the University Relations Department whittled down from 16 to seven since Mason was brought on by the chancellor, it certainly seems possible that he was intent on downsizing the department.

That’s why smart money said that it would have been Mason’s head that was going to roll on this one. Instead it was the chancellor herself who punched her ticket on Monday morning, in a short letter to faculty, staff and students that had no mention of the UNCG 3.

Somewhat ironically, the photo that accompanied the university’s press release was shot by Dave Wilson.

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