A university hearings panel at UNC-Chapel Hill has dismissed the honor court case against Maya Little, the doctoral history student who had previously been found responsible for damaging property when she poured red ink and blood on the Silent Sam Confederate monument last April.
The panel voted to dismiss the case on the grounds that Little’s basic rights had been violated in an initial honor court hearing last year, according to an email sent to Little and her defense counsel, Gina Balamucki.
The ruling on Thursday came after a five-hour appeals hearing Tuesday during which Little and her legal counsel argued that the outcome in the case had been unfair because one of the panelists could not be impartial. That panelist, law student Frank Pray, a former leader of the College Republicans at UNC, had previously made comments on social media calling student protesters “petulant children” and had supported keeping the Confederate statue on campus.
During Tuesday’s appeal, Pray admitted that he had deleted his social media accounts around the time of the hearing, but maintained that he was able to keep his personal opinions separate from the evidence in Little’s case.
But Balamucki, Little’s legal representative, argued that Pray should not have been seated on the panel and that he cast the swing vote, resulting in the original 3-2 vote for conviction.
Little has said her act was an effort to “contextualize” a monument that she believed was racist. Balamucki said the red liquid required that the statue be cleaned but did not damage it.
The monument was torn down by protesters about four months later.
Little has been a frequent activist at Silent Sam protests. She was found guilty of a misdemeanor in Orange County court in the April incident, and was charged with inciting a riot and assaulting a police officer at a December demonstration.