ECU chancellor and student set to sit down after Twitter controversy

(Photo Courtesy: Valdosta State University)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – An East Carolina University senior was blocked by Dr. Cecil Staton’s, the new ECU chancellor, Twitter account after she voiced her opinion about his background.

The senior is appalled at the way ECU’s leader handled the situation.

Everyone knows ECU is Pirate Nation. After one student tweeted the university’s new chancellor, she said his response isn’t the way a leader should treat his fellow Pirates.

“Being a Pirate means being in love with East Carolina University,” said Anniken Williams, a senior at ECU. She said it’s in her blood. “I’ve been a Pirate my whole life since I was three.”

On Dr. Cecil Staton’s first day at the helm of Pirate Nation, Williams tweeted this: “Put a Republican politician in charge of my university. This is a school, not a state legislature.”

Williams admits she’s a devoted Democrat and doesn’t agree with a lot of Dr. Staton’s past. However, what happens next is why she’s so upset.

“I expected him to ignore it, but he went even a step forward as to block me,” Williams said.

9 On Your Side asked Staton and he responded by saying, “Students can say whatever they like. I have to be the chancellor and frankly, be a little bit more responsible.”

After she was blocked, Staton’s bio also underwent a number of changes.

“It very reminiscent of how a teenager acts when they get in an argument with someone and they don’t like what someone says,” Williams continued.

One variation reads, “Social media bullies and trolls will be blocked.” The latest version is a little different.

“I use social media to be a cheerleader for this institution and that’s what I’m going to do, and without apology.”

That’s exactly what Williams wants, is an apology.

“It worries me that he can’t handle what people would call criticism,” Williams explained.

Dr. Staton has since unblocked Williams. Earlier Thursday, he said he wants to have open dialogue with students. Both Williams and Staton, along with other campus leaders, have a meeting scheduled for Friday.

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