UNC Police has a new leader following the retirement of former UNC Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Jeff McCracken in July. David L. Perry, who previously served as chief of the Florida State University Police Department, will officially step into the position on Sept. 3.
Like many colleges and universities, UNC and FSU have a documented history of sexual assault on campus. The two schools have come under fire for the way they handle sexual assault cases; in fact, both were featured in the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground.”
The issue of campus sexual assault is primarily why Perry’s hiring may be cause for concern. In 2012, two female students accused FSU quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault while Perry served as chief of police. FSU was slow to move forward with the investigation, ultimately terminating it altogether. In the meantime, however, Winston continued to play for FSU, eventually winning a Heisman Trophy and bringing home a national championship.
Despite the many transgressions committed by UNC Police in the past, the Editorial Board remained optimistic in the wake of McCracken’s retirement, hoping that new leadership would bring desperately needed reform to the force. But Perry’s history at FSU raises questions about whether we can rely on him to handle campus sexual assault cases appropriately.
It goes without saying that Perry’s hiring comes at a time when the relationship between UNC Police and the community is especially fraught with tension and fear. It’s this lack of trust that prompted interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz to assemble a campus safety commission back in March (we’re not sure what they actually do, though).