Ryan Barnett and Nancy McCorkle, arrested in April for vandalizing the Unsung Founders Memorial, were found guilty last week for injury to real property and larceny, according to reports from INDYWeek and The News and Observer. Barnett was also found guilty of indecent exposure and public urination.
Barnett and McCorkle vandalized an art installation outside of Hanes Art Center and used markers to write slurs and expletives across the Unsung Founders Memorial, INDYWeek reported. The pair also stole a flag from the UNC system Office.
The vandalism named and insulted Maya Little and Lindsay Ayling, two student activists who have fought to remove what they see as lasting symbols of racism, including Confederate monument Silent Sam, from the University.
McCorkle and Barnett have previously attended pro-Confederate events in the area. Ayling said Barnett has frequently harassed her in the past.
At the time, Heirs to the Confederacy co-founder Lance Spivey said the pro-Confederate group did not condone the acts of vandalism.
The judge dismissed charges of ethnic intimidation, according to INDYWeek.
Ayling said she was frustrated that the judge dismissed this charge despite the vandalism including racial slurs, the defacement of a monument to slaves and Little's name.
The insults and use of her name in the acts of vandalism weren't surprising to Ayling. She’s experienced frequent harassment for her activism, she said, and the attacks against her Black peers are often explicitly racist.
"Unfortunately, it's something that we have to deal with a lot," Ayling said.
She said she's received multiple death threats for her activism.
Barnett and McCorkle's arrest was not the first time pro-Confederates have crossed paths with police in Chapel Hill. The same month of the pair's acts of vandalism, pro-Confederate demonstrators were approached by police for carrying firearms on campus. No arrests were made.
According to INDYWeek, Barnett and McCorkle were sentenced to 200 hours of community service and must each pay a fine of $500, in addition to reimbursing the University $1,326 for the cost of removing the graffiti.
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