Breaking Campus News. Launching Media Careers.
NC State remains quiet two months after alleged racial slur at basketball game


‘I don’t know,’ spokesperson says, when asked for update

A racial slur investigation remains under wraps a full two months after the first allegations were levied by the University of North Carolina women’s basketball team after a game at North Carolina State University.

North Carolina State University and UNC officials did not provide details on the investigation despite emails and phone calls from The College Fix in the past three weeks.

The College Fix contacted Associate Athletics Director for Communications Annabelle Myers, who provided limited comments to The Fix’s initial inquiry last month, to ask about the status of the investigation and when the results could be expected.

Myers did not offer any updates and instead referred The Fix to Fred Hartman, the assistant vice chancellor for university communications. The Fix followed up with Hartman but he did not respond to similar questions sent in multiple inquiries within the past three weeks.

The Fix reached the school’s media relations office by phone but a campus spokesperson, who did not identify himself, would not provide any information on the incident.

“I don’t have any details on that,” the spokesperson told The Fix on March 21. When asked if the investigation was still ongoing the spokesperson responded “I don’t know” and deferred questions to the athletics’ media department.

An unknown source alleged the racial slur was yelled at a UNC player by NC State students as the team walked onto the court prior to the start of the game, according to the Tar Heel Tribune.

However, Myers indicated that the players entered the court near the visiting team’s bench which according to footage reviewed by The Fix, appears to be surrounded by UNC fans, not NC State students.

UNC was also quick to release a statement following the incident,  stating “there is no room for hateful speech in sports.”

In response to The Fix’s original inquiry into the incident in February, the school’s Athletic Communications Director, Dana Gelin, did not directly answer any questions but deferred The Fix to the university’s public statement.

The Fix followed up with UNC to ask for updates. The school’s media relations team referred The Fix’s questions to Robbi Evans, an associate athletics director for communications.

The Fix tried to reach Evans via email twice in the last three weeks and once by phone but did not get an immediate reply. Days later, her office returned the call, advising The Fix to email Evans, despite not responding to previous email requests for comment from The Fix.

Additionally, The Fix attempted to reach the university’s media relations office by phone unsuccessfully. No campus spokesperson has answered any of The Fix’s questions.

Public information officers ‘are getting increasingly worse,’ legal scholar says

The director of the Brechner Freedom of Information Project at the University of Florida told The Fix that policies at universities are becoming more strict with regard to providing information to the press and the general public.

“Public agencies aren’t required by law to answer questions or talk with the public or journalists, even though they should do so voluntarily,” David Cuillier said in an emailed statement to The Fix.

“And [public information officer] controls are getting increasingly worse throughout the country, and particularly at universities and among police departments, according to a bunch of studies,” Cuiller said.

There have been several instances within the last year of allegations of racial slurs being used at public universities that were eventually debunked, as previously reported by The Fix.

Illinois State University recently announced that it could not verify allegations that a racial slur was said at a school basketball game last December.

Attendees at a September 2023 Virginia State University women’s soccer match claimed that racist terms were yelled at the team’s players, but an investigation into the matter ultimately proved the allegations to be false.

Famously, Duke University volleyball player Rachel Richardson claimed a Brigham Young University fan yelled racial slurs at her during a match. BYU could not verify the claims after an exhaustive investigation.

The Church of the Latter-Day Saints university also had to backtrack after it errantly barred an individual with special needs from events, believing him to be the culprit.

Editor’s note: The spelling of Tar Heel Tribune has been corrected.

MORE: U. Utah racial slur allegation ‘difficult to investigate’ police say

IMAGE: ACC Network/YouTube

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

Please join the conversation about our stories on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, MeWe, Rumble, Gab, Minds and Gettr.

About the Author
Jack Applewhite -- University of Georgia