A UNC-Chapel Hill freshman who told police he was attacked by a man who burned his hand and called him an anti-gay slur made a false report, the university says.
In a message just released to the campus community, Chancellor Holden Thorp says: "The Department of Public Safety has determined that the alleged aggravated assault reported to campus last night did not occur. That report, filed with campus police on April 5, was false. The University will not report it as a hate crime."
"It is important to recognize that incidents of harassment do occur," Thorp continued. "When they do, we take them seriously. We strive to foster a welcoming, inclusive and safe environment at Carolina.
Freshman Quinn Matney told police he was outside his South Campus dorm April 4 when he stopped to speak with an acquaintance. As he stood on a foot bridge near his Craige Residence Hall, he had said another college-age man nearby approached him, called him an anti-gay slur, and pressed a hot piece of metal to his left wrist.
The university planned to report the incident as a hate crime to the federal government. The assault was apparently motivated by Matney’s sexual orientation, Thorp said in a statement Monday. “As a university community, we condemn this act of violence,” Thorp wrote. “Our Department of Public Safety will bring the strongest possible charges against the attacker.”
But police had little to work with. Matney could not identify his attacker or the person he stopped to speak with just before the attack, said Jeff McCracken, UNC’s police chief.
Efforts to reach Matney today were unsuccessful.