VOLUME 112, ISSUE 4
Harris rape case ends in mistrial
SEXUAL ASSAULT, BURGLARY AND
KIDNAPPING CHARGES DROPPED
BY CHRIS GLAZNER
AND MEREDITH MILLER
HILLSBOROUGH - Robert Allen
Harris was cleared Wednesday of
charges of sexual assault, burglary and
kidnapping, while a fourth charge of
rape resulted in a hung jury.
“I am very happy with the decision,”
said Harris, a former UNC student and
football player. “I wouldn’t wish this on
anyone. I hope I can get on with my life.”
When the verdict was read, Harris
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Summer reading committee chairwoman Jan Bardsley (right) collects votes for this year's book in a hat at the committee's final meeting
Wednesday morning as Dave Gilbert watches. The committee selected "Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point," by David Lipsky.
PANEL TAKES NEW PATH
"It was flattering to
learn, and a great
honor to be selected.
I hope the freshmen
enjoy the book and
hope that it generates
One of the main things
I wanted to share with
readers was that peo
ple in uniform are peo
ple they're the kids
you sat next to in high school, who mowed your
lawn or snuck cigarettes with you in junior high.
And they'd managed to make this choice and get
through West Point and ... serve their country."
DAVID LIPSKY, INANE-MAIL INTERVIEW
BY EMMA BURGIN
AND MEREDITH MILLER
There are no leads almost two
weeks after a string of sexual
assaults occurred in several apart
ment complexes in Carrboro, rais
ing safety concerns among area
tenants and renters.
An intruder rape occurred Feb.
15 at Sue Ann Court, where the
female victim was home alone,
police reports state.
Another rape at Royal Park
Apartments and a sexual assault at
Dominion Ramsgate were report
ed Feb. 9 within hours of each
other, reports state.
SEE RAPE, PAGE 4
‘ £ v
STUDENT ELECTIONS 2004
The Board of Elections released Wednesday its full
rationale for holding a second runoff election PAGE 2
Serving the students and the University community since 1893
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and the group of friends and fraternity
brothers around him bowed their heads
On the other side of the courtroom,
Harris’ accuser burst into tears and left
The jury spent more than nine hours
deliberating before reaching a verdict at
about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday.
Judge John Jolly read a note from the
jury that said one juror refused to vote
with the majority to find Harris not
guilty of rape. The 11-1 vote resulted in
BY JOHN FRANK
PROJECTS TEAM EDITOR
Toward the end, not even the committee
members selecting this year’s summer read
ing book knew which one would survive.
After sifting through almost 500 books in
a four-month process, it came down to two
books and a vote that surprised just about
At the group’s previous meeting, a major
ity of the eight members favored “Enough:
Staying Human in the Engineered Age,” with
one person absent and one still undecided.
It seemed that “Absolutely American:
Four Years at West Point” was defeated.
While the committee members would
later vote by secret ballot, as requested by a
member, they went around the table
Wednesday morning, reading prepared
statements announcing their choice.
The committee member who was absent
Taylor, 83, UNC chancellor
BY BRIAN HUDSON
ASSISTANT UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Former UNC-Chapel Hill
Chancellor Nelson Ferebee Taylor
died Wednesday at the age of 83.
During his term as chancellor
from 1972 to 1980, UNC-CH saw
an improvement in its library sys
tem with the renovations of
Wilson Library and the Health
Services Library. Taylor was also
a strong force in the construction
of Davis Library.
“Ferebee Taylor led Carolina
through a critical period of growth
with dedication, keen insight and
wise judgment,” Chancellor James
Moeser stated in a news release.
“His thoughtful stewardship of the
University’s library system has
made a lasting gift not only to gen
erations of Carolina students and
faculty but also to the people of
University officials plan to ring
Assistant Public Defender Glenn
Gerding moved to have the charge dis
missed, but Jolly denied his motion.
The case might be retried if the state
chooses to pursue it.
The verdict followed a draining trial
that lasted four days and included testi
mony from Harris, his accuser and eight
In the early morning of March 28,
2003, Harris was arrested outside his
ex-girlfriend’s South Campus residence
hall on charges of sexual assault.
Authorities heard cries for help and
found his accuser inside, locked out of
her room. She told police that morning
that she had been raped in her room.
from the last meeting, Professor Reginald
Hildebrand, cast his vote for “Enough.”
Dave Gilbert, an assistant dean of stu
dents, who was undecided as of Sunday,
declined to state a preference, instead wish
ing both sides good luck.
Then, committee chairwoman Jan
Bardsley surprised the group with an about
face as she launched into a statement sup
porting “Absolutely American.” The whole
group waited for a “but” that would signal
her continued preference for “Enough.”
But it didn’t come, and Bardsley dead
locked the group at 4-4.
Members then voted by circling one title
on a half-sheet of paper and passing their
votes in a UNC baseball hat to Bardsley.
“Absolutely American” edged out
“Enough” 5-4. In the fall, it will be read by
SEE BOOK, PAGE 4
the South Building bell five times
on the day of his memorial service,
an occasion that marks only the
most significant University events.
Taylor, a native of Oxford, first
came to UNC-CH as an under
graduate student in 1938. After
receiving a bachelor’s degree in
U.S. history in 1942, Taylor served
in the U.S. Navy during World
War 11, earning the Bronze Star,
nine battle stars and two com
mendations for his service.
After the war, Taylor earned a
bachelor’s of law degree, cum
laude, from Harvard Law School.
He was awarded the Rhodes
Scholarship to study at Oxford
University's Balliol College, earn
ing a bachelor’s degree in 1951
and a master’s degree in 1955.
He spent the next several years
practicing law in New York but
maintained ties to UNC-CH
through alumni organizations.
Harris maintained in his testimony
that their encounter had been consen
sual, but turned violent when his accus
er attacked him.
Several witnesses testified that his
accuser had scrapes, bruises and a black
eye that morning.
Gerding tried throughout the trial to
discredit the accuser’s testimony. On
Monday, he called as a witness Beth
Winston, an investigator in the Public
Defender’s Office. Winston read aloud
passages from an interview last summer
in which the accuser made statements
inconsistent with her testimony.
He called Scott Beasley, a Bell South
SEE TRIAL, PAGE 4
■P *..V I
Nelson Ferebee Taylor in 1979
Lyle Jones, who was vice chan
cellor and dean of The Graduate
School during part of Taylor's
chancellorship, said it was that
experience as a corporate lawyer
that made him fair and judicious
“He was extremely fair,” Jones
said. “He played no favorites of
those that advised him in the
In 1968, Taylor returned to
SEE TAYLOR, PAGE 4
Freshman pitcher leads the Tar Heels to a 5-1 win
over Gardner-Webb at home Wednesday PAGE 10
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2004
DTH FILE PHOTO/BRENT CLARK
Former UNC student Robert Allen Harris was
acquitted Wednesday of three of his four charges.
early to West
BOB: Chain of events tainted results
BY EMILY STEEL
ASSISTANT UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Four hours before the Board of
Elections was scheduled to release
the official results of the runoff
election for student body presi
dent, candidate Lily West inadver
tently learned that she was leading
the race by a six-vote margin.
The board announced
Wednesday that the leak of classi
fied information tainted the results
of the uncertified runoff election
and could have spurred a series of
campaign violations that affected
the outcome of the election.
“We felt like if the vote count
somehow got out, that is another
reason to call for a re-election,”
Board Chairwoman Melissa
Anderson said. “The election was
tainted. It just added on to every
thing that was happening.”
The board stated that the viola
tion was no fault of West’s, who
won the uncertified election by
The board ruled Tuesday night
to hold a second runoff election
next week, citing a preponderance
of evidence that UNC alumnus
Alistair Cooper illegally solicited
votes for West on election night.
West learned on the evening of
the runoff that she led the race by
Budget cuts to
hit system hard
BY STEPHANIE JORDAN
ASSISTANT STATE & NATIONAL EDITOR
Budget cut scenarios requested
by Gov. Mike Easley are making
UNC-system schools take a hard
look at any excess they can trim
from the funds they receive, and
universities are saying there’s not
much they can sacrifice.
“We’ve cut the fat, the muscle;
we’re past the bone,” said Mark
Lanier, assistant to UNC-
Wilmington’s chancellor. “This is
Lanier said UNC-W would not
be able to fill vacated faculty posi
tions, leading to larger class sizes
and fewer sections.
“It’s a last resort, but we don’t
have any more options,” Lanier
said. “Students can feel the
(effects). It’s impacting the mission
of the university.”
UNC-system President Molly
Broad said in an interview after the
Board of Governors’ Feb.l3 meet
ing that the governor asked the
system to estimate how it would be
affected by 1-, 2- and 3-percent
The schools have to turn their
scenarios in to Broad’s office by
March 5. The office will in turn
submit the scenarios to the Office
of State Budget and Management
TODAY P.M. snow, H 38, L 30
FRIDAY Rain/snow, H 40, L 23
SATURDAY Sunny, H 52, L 32
six votes after talking with former
candidate Matt Compton, who has
thrown his support behind West.
Compton apparently walked
into the Board of Elections office at
about 5:30 p.m. on the day of the
runoff and offered to get some
medicine for board member
Heather Sidden who said she had
n’t been feeling well.
From where he sat, Compton
said, he could see Sidden’s comput
er, showing West’s six-vote lead.
“I didn’t go in with the intent of
spying around or snooping or any
thing, and when I looked down, I
didn’t even think anything of it.”
Compton said that after study
ing for awhile he was meeting a
friend for dinner and ran into
West, who was campaigning out
side Lenoir Dining Hall.
“I ran into Lily, and she said,
‘Matt, I heard we were only up by
40 votes,’ and I said, ‘No, no you
are only up by six,’” Compton said.
“I didn’t even think about it
causing any problems,” he said. “It
was only that I ran into Lily, and
she said one number, and I just
blurted out another.”
Compton said he followed his
friend into the dining hall and did-
SEE VOTES, PAGE 2
by March 12.
Some campuses say their class
rooms already are aching, having
absorbed budget cuts for several
“Historically, campuses have
tried hard not to hurt the class
room,” said Jeff Davies, UNC-sys
tem vice president for finance. “It’s
hard not to do.”
UNC-W feels the burden of
budget cuts because it receives
fewer state dollars than any other
school in the system, Lanier added.
“We have less to start with.”
Other schools also said they
have had to deal with cuts in and
out of the classroom.
“(Budget cuts have) a detrimen
tal impact on the quality of educa
tion,” said Chuck Hawkins, senior
associate vice chancellor for finan
cial services at East Carolina
University. “It will (affect) nonaca
demic things first, but even at the
1-percent level, it will impact on
the academic level.”
Not filling vacant faculty posi
tions will be examined largely as a
way for many system schools to cut
“We have to look hard at vacant
positions, and a lot of them are fac-
SEE SYSTEM, PAGE 4