The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 8th

Hate-crime report was falsified, UNC officials say

Freshman could face punishment

Quinn Matney, victim of a homophobic hate crime.
Buy Photos Quinn Matney, victim of a homophobic hate crime.

Less than a day after Chancellor Holden Thorp publicly condemned a hate crime against freshman Quinn Matney, the Department of Public Safety determined Matney had falsified his report to police.

Matney, who is gay, said Monday that a man grabbed his wrist, insulted his sexual orientation and burned him early in the morning April 4 on the Craige Residence Hall footbridge, leaving him with third- and fourth-degree burns. Matney filed a report with campus police April 5.

But after talking with Matney late Tuesday afternoon, DPS detectives found the report to be false, said Winston Crisp, vice chancellor for student affairs. As a result, officials said the University will not report the incident as a hate crime.

“The aggravated assault did not take place,” Crisp said, adding that he believes no one other than Matney acted dishonestly.

Matney could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Officials declined to comment on why Matney falsified the report, but said the student will likely face charges for his actions.

Matney is still enrolled at UNC, said University spokesman Mike McFarland in an email. McFarland added that he is unsure of what charges the freshman might face.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance rallied around Matney’s account Monday. The group planned to host a public forum in place of its regular weekly meeting Thursday, and administrators said they would attend in support.

“It’s a horrible thing for the University community to have to go through the emotional rollercoaster of all these kind of things,” Crisp said.

Billy Kluttz, co-president of GLBTSA, said he could not comment because he and members of his group do not know all of the facts.

Jeff DeLuca, the other co-president, also declined to comment.

Terri Phoenix, director of the LGBTQ Center, said she will meet with students and administrators today to discuss moving forward from the incident.

“The way this has played out should in no way deter anyone who experiences harassment from coming forward and coming to the police,” Phoenix said.

In a campuswide email Tuesday night, Thorp said it is important to realize that legitimate cases of harassment do occur.

“When they do, we take them seriously,” he wrote. “We strive to foster a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment at Carolina.”

Though the report of the incident was false, Crisp said he is under the impression that Matney did go to Campus Health Services for treatment.

“There was no assault,” he said. “I think that’s all I feel comfortable I can say.”

Crisp said he is still willing to attend the group’s public forum.

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