The former U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms realized the law enforcement officers were firing practice ammunition, which “petrified” her, she told the DTH at the time.
In a public statement, Mathwig said she made calls to University officials while sitting on the steps, but UNC Police insisted on their right to continue their exercise. She said she was placed in handcuffs after refusing to leave the direct training area, and charged with second-degree trespass and resisting an officer.
“I understand that I was the last person interviewed,” she said. “Everybody wanted to talk to the police right away, but nobody wanted to come and talk to the worker that’s sitting in handcuffs for three and a half hours.”
Mathwig said she’s only been back to campus three times since the incident: once to meet with a human recourses representative, a second time to be interviewed as part of the University’s investigation, and the final time was her termination.
The actual firing was brief, she said.
“They already had the letter. It was really cordial and to the point.”
In a statement to The Daily Tar Heel, UNC Media Relations said "Under the State Human Resources Act the University cannot comment on personnel matters."
In between the time of her arrest and firing, Mathwig said she was placed on investigatory leave by the University.
“The process is very vague,” she said. “There’s really no details given about how it’s supposed to be carried out.”
The State Human Resources Manual’s Disciplinary Action Policy says investigatory leave with pay is used to “temporarily remove an employee from work status.”
Reasons for placing an employee on investigatory leave include investigating allegations that would constitute cause for disciplinary action, to avoid disruption in the work place, protecting peoples’ safety and others.
Mathwig felt she’s been targeted by UNC Police for her “unwavering support of anti-racist student activism and vocal opposition to UNC campus police violence.” Her arrest, made by Officer Ryan Kay around 5:30 p.m., occurred hours after a protest against police brutality.
Officer Kay was criticized for a different arrest last year involving a Dec. 3 anti-Silent Sam demonstration. The Daily Tar Heel reported on contradictions in statements made by Kay and other officers regarding the arrest and Kay’s body camera footage.
“Maybe this training wasn’t a huge thing, the fact that they think it’s ok to do an active shooter training without announcing it to anybody, and then to punish somebody for saying this is wrong this is not a safe training environment,” Mathwig said. “The University police are accountable to nobody.”
Mathwig said UNC’s investigation following the arrest was overseen by associate vice chancellor for student affairs Jonathan Sauls.
In 2013, Sauls was named in a complaint filed by former assistant dean of students Melinda Manning and four others, in which the group alleged Manning was told the number of 2010 campus sexual assault cases she compiled for reporting purposes was “too high,” and that Manning was the victim of a hostile work environment.
When reached for comment, University Media Relations reiterated its stance on not commenting on personnel matters.
At the time, the DTH reported the complaint alleged Sauls “lashed out at [Manning] with threats, retaliation and silence.”
The document also said “in 2006, the year Sauls was hired as judicial programs officer, all language requiring sexual assault training for judicial boards disappeared.”
In April of this year Sauls’s title changed from dean of students to associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
“People have such unlimited unchecked power over other peoples’ lives,” Mathwig said. “It’s really dangerous.”