FAYETTEVILLE, NC – Despite promises to the contrary, Chancellor Folt announced this morning that UNC’s Honor Prison will not close today, the 100th day of her chancellorship.
When Folt took office in early July, her administration pledged to close the controversial facility, which is located in Fayeteville, NC, outside of the university’s legal boundaries. But progress has been slow to date.
“Hitmo” has been embroiled in scandal since 2011, when, under Chancellor Thorp, reports emerged of “enhanced interrogation” at the facility.
“We were being tortured,” said Alex Woster, junior political science major, who was sent to the prison after the NacAgent on his computer recorded him telling a friend he cheated on LFIT quizzes.
“We were made to sharpen pencils for hours, index books, and make scantrons until we would give up information on other plagiarizers,” said Woster. “We didn’t know anything.”
Calling the prison, “necessary for campus security,” Thorp refused to close “Hitmo” during his tenure as chancellor, sending both convicted and “suspected” students to the off-campus detention center.
“There is a war on plagiarism,” said Chancellor Thorp at the time. “I’m not willing to put this campus at risk.”
In Folt, many hoped for a change, but “Hitmo” remains open.
“This process is not easy,” Folt said. “We have to talk to all legal counsels involved and negotiate some kind of transfer of prisoners. These are not your normal Honor Code transgressors; these are the pathologic plagiarizers, the serial smoking-in-the dorm roomers. We don’t want to just release these hardened criminals into the general UNC population.”
Folt’s inaction has not come without backlash. Recently released “Hitmo” detainee and registered parking offender, Grey Sanders has partnered with ex-prison guard Kevin Trollop and the Campus Y to pressure the new Chancellor on the issue.
“They forced me to proofread professors’ syllabi for grammatical errors while blaring metal [music] through the speakers,” said Sanders of his time in Honor Prision. “This unconstitutional institution must not continue.”
Trollop was the informant who first brought allegations of “Hitmo” abuse to Chancellor Thorp’s administration, quickly garnering campus-wide attention. He was as a work-study Honor Prision guard at the time.
“[The guards] got out of hand, we lost sight of the reality,” said a distraught Trollop in a statement to the press last May. “I saw student after student tortured for forging official university documents. We thought we were protecting the people back at UNC, but is a UNC that allows “Hitmo” to stand worth protecting?”
Trollop, Sanders, and the Campus Y will be hosting a “Pita for Prisoners” protest at this weekend’s upcoming Folt Fest.