UNC student group: Investigation of election offer needed

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The student government board for the University of North Carolina system is calling for an investigation into allegations that two East Carolina University trustees tried to influence a student election.

The General Assembly of the UNC Association of Student Governments passed a resolution Saturday calling for the investigation, the Daily Reflector of Greenville reported.

The resolution says David Powers, chairman of UNC Board of Governors Committee on University Governance, received a letter regarding allegations against Phil Lewis and Robbie Moore on Jan. 18. The letter was from the leadership of the East Carolina University Board of Trustees, the resolution says.

According to the resolution, the letter alleges Lewis and Moore met with an ECU student to encourage the student to run for student body president. It also alleges they offered financial support to the student’s potential campaign and to use their positions to obtain helpful student information. The resolution indicates that such action would violate a section of UNC system policy that deals with the duties, responsibilities and expectations of board members.

The resolution then called for the UNC board to act as quickly as possible to conduct an honest investigation and remove any official “found to be unduly influencing free and fair elections.”

The resolution was sponsored by Assembly President Adam Schmitt and co-sponsored by 11 members of the board, including ECU student body president Colin Johnson, who also is a member of the ECU Board of Trustees.

The resolution does not indicate whether the election allegedly involved is a past election or the upcoming one.

The SGA member is a voting member on the ECU trustees, and Johnson voted with a slim majority in July to elect Vern Davenport as chairman of the trustees. Lewis and Moore were among a minority who voted for Angela Moss.

In a statement to the Daily Reflector, Lewis and Moore said they “have been made aware of the allegations and have faith that the University Governance Committee of the UNC Board of Governors will gather all relevant information and facts. We have confidence they will make an appropriate decision.”

The assembly voted 54-0 in favor of the resolution, according to the minutes of the meeting. The minutes also indicate that a memo and an audio recording were sent to the Board of Governors.

The Associated Press requested a copy of the audio or a transcript from a UNC system spokesman, who forwarded the request to the system's list of public records requests.