Silent Sam vandal's legal rep claims act was 'not a grave offense'
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill student Maya Little received community service and a warning after vandalizing a Confederate statue on campus.
Little is appealing her sanctions on the basis that one of the judges was biased.
The statue, Silent Sam, has since been removed by protesters and the former chancellor.
A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate student who defaced a Confederate statue appealed her sanction of community service and a warning Tuesday while her legal representation downplayed the act.
In April, UNC graduate student Maya Little poured a mixture of red ink and her own blood on the school's Silent Sam statue, which has since been torn down. Little appealed a sanction of 18 hours of community service and a written warning, which was handed down in a 3-2 vote by a student-comprised honor court, The News & Observer reported.
Gina Balamucki, a UNC law student representing Little says that Little did not damage Silent Sam with her action and that the statue only needed to be cleaned.
“It was an act of contextualization around a racist statue, which has since been taken down by the UNC chancellor herself. This was not a grave offense and this was well within the standards for the UNC community,” Balamucki said, according to The News & Observer. “Ms. Little does not need to learn from this experience. This experience was Maya teaching us something.”
The law student referenced former UNC Chancellor Carol Folt, who removed the statue's base in January before resigning. Protesters had previously torn down the figure of Silent Sam figure in August.
— Samee Siddiqui (@ssiddiqui83) April 30, 2018
Balamucki laid the blame for Little's sanction at the feet of Frank Pray, who a UNC law student who was on the university panel that decided her punishment. and used to lead the school's College Republicans chapter. Pray had extolled the "beneficence" of the Silent Sam statue and termed activists "petulant children." But Pray told The News & Observer that his personal opinions did not influence his decision in Little's trial.
“I look at the evidence presented before us, and I look into whether the evidence there meets the charge,” he said.
Campus Reform spoke about the Little case with Magdalene Horzempa, UNC-CH College Republicans chairwoman.
“I believe that Maya Little should be held responsible for her actions," Horzempa said. "There is sufficient evidence against her and Frank Pray had a right to vote how he did. Frank Pray is a friend and student of great moral aptitude and just because he voted to punish Maya Little does not make him impartial or incapable of doing his job on the UNC Honor Court."
"Ms. Little VANDALIZED public property, which is against the law and just because that property was that...which some students don't like does not make that OK," the College Republicans chairwoman told Campus Reform. "I also vehemently disagree with Ms. Balamucki, as I did not learn ANYTHING from Ms. Little except that if you break the law on UNC's campus, they will obviously do their best to let you get away with it, especially if it fits into their leftist agenda. The UNC administration should be ashamed of themselves for letting this go on as long as it has."
Little received a misdemeanor for her statue vandalism and was charged in December for assault of a police officer and inciting a riot at another protest.
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