Local News

Carson Slaying Weighs Heavy on Students During ‘Take Back the Night’

Posted March 26, 2008 11:09 p.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2008 9:18 a.m. EDT

— Student activism was alive and well at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wednesday night. During the annual "Take Back the Night" march, students symbolically reclaimed the night from fear and violence.

"I think it's really important for women to come and band together and know that they deserve a safe environment to be in," Organizer Jessica Scruggs said.

This year's event was even more meaningful in the wake of Eve Carson's killing. The 22-year-old senior and student body president from Athens, Ga., was shot to death near the UNC campus March 5 in what Chapel Hill police have called a random act of violence.

Organizers said Carson attended last year's "Take Back the Night" event.

"We all see the devastating effects that violence has on our community,  and this is something that she believed in," UNC student Laura Ciompi said.

A moment of silence was held Wednesday for Carson and other victims of violence.

Victims of sexual assault spoke at the event about the stigma and shame surrounding crimes against women. It is estimated that one out of four women in college is sexually assaulted or raped.

Experts say the majority of cases are not reported to authorities.

Students placed 61 stars on the Wilson Library banister. Each star represented a rape or sexual assault reported by a UNC student over the past year and a half.

"Hopefully, events like this will change perceptions in society about rape and violence against women," UNC student Matt Slack said.

Students WRAL spoke with were still on edge following Carson's death. Self-defense classes on campus are reportedly filling up faster than ever before.

Two suspects, Demario James Atwater, 21, and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 17, have been charged with murder in Carson's death.

Lovette is also charged with murder in the Jan. 18 slaying of Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato. Mahato, 29, was shot between the eyes at point-blank range during a robbery at his off-campus apartment, authorities said.