UNCW chancellor discusses $25K scholarship gift, Silent Sam

UNCW chancellor discusses $25K scholarship gift, Silent Sam
UNCW Chancellor Jose "Zito" Sartarelli (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Fall semester classes have started at UNCW, but even before the first day of class on Wednesday, it was a busy week for Chancellor Jose "Zito" Sartarelli.

On Tuesday, UNCW officials announced that Sartarelli donated $25,000 to an endowed scholarship as part of the Chancellor's Challenge.

Sartarelli discussed that and the Confederate monument Silent Sam being toppled in Chapel Hill on Monday during Thursday's News Now on WECT.

"My theory in life is, if you can, you should," Sartarelli said. "My wife and I felt we should help students graduate and there's no better way to help students do that than through scholarships."

Sartarelli led the Chancellor's Challenge initiative, which encourages graduating students to donate to the university. He agreed to match their donations and the $25,000 gift from Sartarelli will help fund the Jose V. "Zito" Sartarelli and Katherine A. Sartarelli Distinguished Merit Scholarship.

The chancellor was in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, one day after Silent Sam was pulled down by student protesters. Sartarelli had plans to be there before the statue was toppled.

Like many cities and towns in the south, Wilmington has Confederate monuments and Sartarelli said university officials will give students ample opportunity to voice their concerns while maintaining decorum.

"We are very much in favor of freedom of expression and free speech," Sartarelli said. "We're strong defenders of that, but one thing we talked about on our campus a lot is, if you want to be treated with respect, you have to provide people with respect and also dignity. ... The element that's very important here is, no violence of any kind."

On Wednesday — the first day of classes at UNCW — a man was arrested on campus after leading police on a chase that began in the TJ Maxx parking lot on South College Road.

Spenser Janes hit several vehicles with his car before a New Hanover County Sheriff's Office detective rammed Janes' car and arrested him at UNCW.

"The world out there, we have to make it safe," Sartarelli said. "We have to be alert.

"That particular case, it's something that gets out of control and it gets out of control very quickly (but) our police force and law enforcement are very proactive. They're collaborative with our folks to preserve safety for our students."

Copyright 2018 WECT. All rights reserved.