Former state appeals court judge Charles Becton will be the interim chancellor of Elizabeth City State University, University of North Carolina President Tom Ross announced Friday.
Becton is currently completing a 10-month assignment as interim chancellor of N.C. Central University in Durham. He will replace ECSU Chancellor Willie Gilchrist, who last week announced his resignation amid investigation of how ECSU campus police handled criminal reports on campus.
In a statement from UNC General Administration, Ross said Becton will become acting head of ECSU on July 1; Gilchrist plans to step down June 30.
“Judge Charles Becton is known and respected throughout the state of North Carolina for his sound judgment and ability to get things done,” Ross said in the statement. “As he has demonstrated yet again during his tenure as interim chancellor at NCCU, he tackles every challenge handed to him with full commitment, great passion, and absolute integrity. I can think of no one who is better qualified to lead ECSU during this time of transition, and I am grateful that he has accepted this new assignment.”
Ross’ announcement said Becton is an alumnus of Howard University, where he earned his undergraduate degree, and Duke University and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he obtained law degrees. He began his legal career working for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York. He later practiced law with the firm of Chambers Stein Ferguson and Lanning in Chapel Hill before being appointed to the N.C. Court of Appeals in 1981. He served on the bench until 1990 before returning to private practice.
In another development Friday, ECSU announced it has now closed 60 of 126 cases campus police failed to properly investigate over the last six years. Gilchrist announced May 13 that ECSU was working with the Elizabeth City Police Department to review and clear the cases, 40 of which he said then had already been cleared.
“All 60 cases were investigated and cleared in accordance with North Carolina Uniform Crime Reporting standards,” the statement read.
The statement broke down how the cases were cleared. It reported: eight were cleared by arrests, six are inactive pending additional information, 31 were closed “after all investigative leads were exhausted,” 14 were closed because the victim declined prosecution, and one case was closed because the investigations were unfounded.