SPECIAL PROJECTS AND INVESTIGATIONS


6/8/2020 9:22pm

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'It’s not on us': From UNC to the courts, restraining order enforcement raises concerns

Both the North Carolina court system and UNC offer differing forms of no-contact orders — commonly called "restraining orders" — to victims of harassment, stalking, abuse or assault when they seek protection from their perpetrators. While each type of no-contact order varies by degree of enforcement and consequences, they all establish, on paper, measures prohibiting contact between involved individuals. But in reality, many victims have found that enforcement of these protective measures can fall on their shoulders alone, leaving them no more sense of protection than they felt before seeking official action. 


4/22/2020 10:48pm

Grifols, S.A., is collaborating with federal health agencies on a development process for a COVID-19 treatment therapy in the company's Clayton facility. The company is ready to begin collecting convalescent plasma from the blood of recovered individuals and manufacturing it into an immune globulin that they hope will help combat the virus following infection; however questions of its affordability remain. Photo courtesy of Grifols.

A COVID-19 treatment may be developed in N.C., but the therapy's cost remains uncertain

A potential treatment for COVID-19 could being development just outside the Research Triangle Park in Clayton, North Carolina. The Spanish pharmaceutical company Grifols, S.A. is spearheading a project with U.S. government assistance from the Food and Drug Administration and the Biomedical Advanced Research Development Authority.  As of Monday, the company is ready to begin collecting convalescent plasma from the blood of recovered individuals and will work towards manufacturing it into an immune globulin that they hope will help combat the virus following infection. Once developed, it's possible the price of this treatment could be very high and whether the federal government will help establish affordability remains unclear. 


4/9/2020 11:01pm

Vanessa, a 20-year-old sophomore at UNC, whose name has been changed for personal safety and legal concerns, is a member of a growing trend of sexual content creators selling subscriptions to their “Premium” Snapchat accounts. 

'hmu for my premium:’ UNC student’s Snapchat porn scam exploits rising industry

Offering a range of subscription packages to customers who can pay up at the tap of their phone screens, sexual content creators in the "Premium” Snapchat industry have found it a lucrative one. But the relatively-new Premium world has proven ripe for scammers.  Vanessa, a 20-year-old sophomore at UNC, is one of those scammers. She can make $1,000 in a single day without ever taking a picture for her Premium subscribers, but the strategy is a complicated one. “I make sure it’s never anyone from (my hometown) or really anyone from North Carolina, because I’m not trying to get murdered."


4/6/2020 9:41pm

DTH Photo Illustration. Concerns have been raised over Zoom's cybersecurity as the University has moved to remote instruction.

Some at UNC have privacy, data security concerns with using Zoom platform for learning

Following UNC's official transition to fully remote classes last month amid the increasing danger of COVID-19's spread, Zoom Video Communications Inc. is now the home of most academic lectures and discussions. There are Zoom office hours, Zoom study groups and, at the end of a long day, some have even hosted Zoom cocktail parties. However, Zoom collects a wide array of user data on its video conferencing service, and concerns are being raised by some about potential pitfalls of the San Jose, California-based company's rapidly increasing popularity.  So how secure is the online, face-to-face meeting platform that University students and faculty suddenly find themselves using for hours on end every day?


3/30/2020 9:41pm

Charlotte City Workers Union organized a rally at City Hall on Monday, March 2, 2020. Speaking to the crowd is Dimple Ajmera, City Council member in support of Medicare for All, running for State Treasurer. Photo courtesy of Miranda Eltson. 

N.C. public service workers seek relief from officials as COVID-19 risks escalate

The expansion of COVID-19 continues raising risks for essential state employees, with the death of a Raleigh sanitation worker last week marking a new level of urgency. UE local 150 — a union representing North Carolina public service workers, including many at UNC — sent individual letters to Gov. Roy Cooper, Raleigh city leaders and the UNC System Board of Governors earlier this month.  The UE150 letters called on each authoritative body to implement new, "commonsense" measures that increase support for these workers, as the coronavirus shutters them off from working for needed wages and endangers them in their day-to-day duties. “Something like this kind of shows where there’s a lack of resources, supplies, a lack of personnel,” UE150 President Bryce Carter said, “so it brings those points out even more in these times.” 

3/26/2020 1:06am

Judge Allen Baddour looks on as SCV lawyer Boyd Sturges speaks during the hearing on Wednesday. Feb. 12, 2020. Judge Baddour ruled to vacate the consent order and dismiss the lawsuit regarding Silent Sam.

UNC's $2.5 million Confederate payout won't be fully repaid despite backdoor deal reversal

The UNC System's now-infamous settlement with the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. was struck down last month after a swarm of public scrutiny and legal challenges. The reversal by Orange County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour returned possession of Silent Sam to the state's higher-education authority, but a $2.5 million trust of UNC's money that the System forfeited in that deal may not be coming back in full. More than $80,000 of those funds in total are set to pay the Confederate group's lawyer and the attorneys involved in operating the trust after its creation. However, a new legal challenge by UNC students and faculty seeks to change that.


3/2/2020 8:41pm

Supporters wave signs as Michael Bloomberg addresses the crowd during an early voting rally at Raleigh Union Station on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in Raleigh, North Carolina. The rally marked the start of early voting in North Carolina for the March 3 Super Tuesday primary elections. (Kevin Hagen/Mike Bloomberg 2020).

Bloomberg garners high-profile N.C. endorsements going into crucial Super Tuesday

Bloomberg has secured 157 endorsements from current and former mayors throughout the country at this point in his unorthodox presidential bid, which he is funding on his own dime. Seven of those mayoral endorsements come from North Carolina, according to the Bloomberg campaign, including from Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and two former Raleigh mayors.  The state’s House and Senate Democratic leaders, Rep. Darren Jackson and Senator Dan Blue, recently endorsed Bloomberg’s bid for commander-in-chief. North Carolina figureheads like Bev Perdue, the state’s first female governor, have also thrown their weight behind him.


2/16/2020 8:45pm

Orange County resident Ken Dawson, 69, stands in one of his greenhouses on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. Dawson has been living in the Cedar Grove community since 1972 and has been on the board of both the Carrboro and Durham farmers markets.

Climate change presents new challenges, long-term threats for N.C. farmers

“We get hotter hots, colder colds, wetter wets and dryer drys,” farmer Ken Dawson said.  Climate change is more than just a looming threat for local farmers. Severe flooding events are becoming more common, and unpredictable weather patterns have thrown off traditional growing seasons, forcing farmers to change what and when they’re harvesting.


2/2/2020 9:49pm

Brad Ives, Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Campus Enterprises, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documents obtained by the DTH show chief sustainability officer Brad Ives was fired, contradicting University officials' claims that he left to pursue other opportunities. Ives said he was fired following a long-standing disagreement with administration over the next steps for sustainable progress at UNC. Photo Courtesy of Brad Ives. 

Sustainability officer fired, contrary to UNC statements; energy initiative sputters

Documents obtained by the DTH show chief sustainability officer Brad Ives was fired, contradicting University officials' claims that he left to pursue other opportunities. Ives said he was fired following a long-standing disagreement with administration over the next steps for sustainable progress at UNC.  In his absence, many students and faculty have expressed concerns that the Three Zeros Initiative and other environmental efforts on campus struggle to find direction.


1/30/2020 11:30pm

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Behind closed doors: UNC System concealed $74,999 deal's role in Confederate payoff

A secretive $74,999 payment has remained a standout question in a pair of backdoor deals between the UNC System and the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. two months ago. The settlement agreement was announced nearly a month after its Nov. 21 signing as a commitment by the SCV to limit its practices and displays on UNC System property. The Daily Tar Heel has obtained new details from sources with first-hand knowledge of the deal, revealing that the $74,999 served as a crucial payoff in a larger courtroom collusion effort between the state’s higher-education authority and a politically-active, pro-Confederate group. 


1/28/2020 10:24pm

The Christopher and William Barbee Family Cemetery pictured on Jan. 24, 2020. The cemetery was active in the 18th and 19th century and where William Barbee and his relatives were buried. Nearly 100 enslaved people are buried in unmarked graves.

Unmarked graves of enslaved people demonstrate Chapel Hill's dark past

“With all the intense emotional reaction over the fall of an abstract monument to slave-owning soldiers, you might think people might be up in arms about actual bodies in the ground that have gone unremembered.” About three miles from UNC’s campus, nearly 100 enslaved people are buried in unmarked  graves at a historic family cemetery. Located only a short walk from the Rizzo Center, the exact details of the cemetery’s ownership and maintenance were unclear to the University when The Daily Tar Heel began investigating the property. Currently, an on-site marker states that the cemetery contains approximately 120 graves but makes no mention of the 100 enslaved people buried there.


1/22/2020 12:57pm

Silent Sam in McCorkle Place

Watchdog complaint calls for state investigation and penalties against SCV

A decorated government watchdog is attributing years of illegal political activity to the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. in a new complaint to the State Board of Elections. Citing The Daily Tar Heel's exclusive reporting and its own follow-up research, the complaint recommends major penalties against the pro-Confederate nonprofit, which received $2.6 million through backdoor dealings with the UNC System last November.


1/10/2020 1:04am

Silent Sam blindfolded by a Confederate flag in 2015. The statue was recently given to Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Confederate group in Silent Sam deal accused of violating tax and campaign finance laws

The North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. has for years been violating federal tax laws, operating a political action committee in violation of its tax-exempt status and facilitating political donations through illegal means, according to numerous individual first-hand accounts, a slew of internal communications provided to The Daily Tar Heel and multiple expert legal opinions. The Confederate group, classified as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in North Carolina, brought in $2.6 million of UNC System money last November through controversial dealings with Board of Governors members. 


12/14/2019 3:55pm

Kevin Stone, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' North Carolina chapter, poses next to Silent Sam after suing and immediately settling with the UNC System and Board of Governors, a deal that gave the group possession of the Confederate monument and $2.5 million in UNC System money for its "preservation and benefit." Photo courtesy of SCV members. 

Sons of Confederate Veterans members oppose $2.5 million Silent Sam reward

Multiple current member of the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. spoke to The Daily Tar Heel in the aftermath of the Confederate group's secretive settlement with the UNC System, which accrued it ownership of Silent Sam and $2.5 million in UNC System money. The members expressed desires to squash the deal and give the money back. They alleged financial impropriety and extortion among SCV leadership, referenced intermingling with gangs and hate groups, and described threats and slurs that have been issued toward members who raise questions.