Dome: Nelms quiet on reason for sudden NCCU retirement

FROM STAFF REPORTSJuly 30, 2012 

Charlie Nelms, who abruptly announced his retirement as chancellor of N.C. Central University, was supposed to talk to the media this week about his departure.

But on Monday, an NCCU spokeswoman sent out a notice saying Nelms had canceled a planned conversation with the media.

Instead, the university sent out a two-sentence statement from Nelms: “I am grateful for the opportunity to have served as the 10th Chancellor of North Carolina Central University. I feel strongly and passionately about shifting the discussion from my retirement to the arrival of Interim Chancellor Charles Becton next week and his efforts to continue moving NCCU forward while focusing on the university’s number one priority: student success.”

Last week, Nelms, 65, stunned the top brass at NCCU when he announced his retirement effective Aug. 6. His departure comes a few weeks before a new semester begins. A search committee will look for a permanent successor, but that process is likely to take months.

Dem injunction hearing set

A former state Democratic Party staffer’s request for an injunction against his former employer is set for a hearing this week in Wake County.

Adriadn Ortega filed a defamation lawsuit in June against the party and Chairman David Parker, alleging he was fired after he reported being sexually harassed by his boss, Jay Parmley, the party’s former executive director.

The injunction request, which is part of the lawsuit, seeks to keep the party from additional disparaging comments against Ortega, said Kieran Shanahan, his attorney.

The initial Monday hearing was delayed until Wednesday afternoon.

Shanahan, a high-profile Republican attorney who also is a spokesman for the state GOP, said Parker and the party have not made any public comments about his client.

But he said the defendants filed allegations in court papers that Ortega leaked documents related to his case, which broke the confidentiality agreement.

Ortega contends in legal papers that Parker and the party defamed him during a press conference in which Parker suggested Ortega lied about the alleged sexual harassment and that his actions requesting a financial settlement amounted to extortion.

“In an effort to divert attention from its own despicable workplace behavior, the North Carolina Democratic Party has and continues to malign its former employee, Mr. Ortega, who is a victim of workplace harassment and retaliation,” Shanahan said in a statement Monday. “We are seeking an injunction against the North Carolina Democratic Party and its Chairman, Mr. Parker, so as to stop the continued victimization of Mr. Ortega.”

First lady at UNC-Greensboro

First lady Michelle Obama will speak to Triad supporters Wednesday at a rally on the campus of the UNC-Greensboro.

Just returned from the Olympics in London, she will make a speech at Fleming Gymnasium at 1:15 p.m.

The event is free, although tickets from local Obama campaign offices are required.

Later in the afternoon, she will attend a fundraiser in Raleigh at Marriott City Center.

Staff writers Jane Stancill, John Frank and Rob Christensen

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