CPCC incident report reveals transgender student did show ID
Updated: April 4, 2014 at 9:20 am
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An incident report filed by Central Piedmont Community College security officers and just released to qnotes today reveals that a transgender student confronted on campus did, in fact, present her ID to school officials, contradicting CPCC’s earlier statements that the student had refused to show security officers her ID. The details of the exchange remain disputed.
Transgender student Andraya Williams has alleged that she was harassed and detained by a security officer as she was exiting a restroom and heading to CPCC’s library before her class on March 18. Williams’ attorney, Sarah Demarest, has said CPCC’s treatment of Williams is a violation of the student’s due process rights and other rights under Title IX, a federal law barring sex- and gender-based discrimination in educational programs.
The incident report — initially requested by qnotes last Friday, but only received today — confirms that Williams did present her ID to school security officers, contradicting several statements from CPCC, which has repeatedly told qnotes and other media that Williams had refused to give her ID to officers.
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In one interview with InsideHigherEd.com, CPCC Public Information Officer Jeff Lowrance said Williams “refused to provide [an ID], and another officer came, and this time the student waved ID but didn’t hand it over.”
The incident report is clear that Williams did, in fact, present an ID, but the details of the exchange and how quickly the ID was presented remain disputed.
According to the report, the incident began when an officer saw Williams exiting a restroom.
“It was believed that this person was a male and not a female,” the report reads. “When questioned the subject became defensive and stated they were calling an attorney.”
The report says an “assistant director of campus security” was called to the scene and “the subject still refused to provide identification.” When another officer arrived, however, the report notes that Williams “then provide [sic] a student identification.
Still, even after confirming Williams was a student, the report notes she was “escorted off campus at this time for failure to provide Central Piedmont Community College identification when asked.”
EXTRA: See the CPCC incident report
Demarest, who says she heard most of the exchange between Williams and campus officers over the telephone, insists, as she has since qnotes broke this story, that her client showed her student ID to the original officer which asked for it.
“A female security officer stopped [Williams] outside of the restroom and asked her for her ID, and she called me right away as she was being asked for ID,” Demarest again recounted Wednesday afternoon. “She told me, ‘Sarah, I was just stopped outside of the restroom and the officer is asking for my ID.’ I heard the officer ask for the ID, and I said, ‘Show her your ID,’ and she grabbed it and showed the officer.”
Demarest added, “[Williams] said [over the phone], ‘I’m pulling it out of my purse now,’ and Andraya said, ‘Here it is.’ The officer said, ‘Okay, now turn it over,’ and then she asked [Williams], ‘Are you a male or a female,’ and chuckled.”
Agreed: ID was shown
qnotes asked CPCC Public Information Officer Jeff Lowrance late Wednesday afternoon why Williams was escorted off campus once she did produce an ID and officers were able to confirm that she was, in fact, a student.
“The student was asked to leave campus after being asked to provide ID multiple times and the student did not,” he said over the phone. “It took multiple requests. The student was being uncooperative.”
Additionally, the incident report, which details the March 18 encounter, was not finalized and approved until Saturday, March 29 at 7:35 p.m., more than 24 hours after qnotes initially asked the head of campus security, Paul Kitchen, for a copy of the report.
Lowrance was not aware of how long it usually takes campus security to file, finalize and approve incident reports.
Williams and Demarest say the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. on March 18. Demarest said she received a phone call from Williams during the encounter at 5:30 p.m. According to the CPCC report, the incident was reported at 5:32 p.m., though a second time section notes the incident occurred from 5 p.m. through 5:51 p.m.
Demarest said on Wednesday morning that she and her client will are planning on moving forward with civil rights complaints.
“This was about prejudice and harassment,” Demarest said earlier. “Now it’s about prejudice, harassment and excuses.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Demarest again questioned CPCC’s response to the incident.
“I think the incident is outrageous,” she said. “No other students are being asked for proof of their gender by campus security.”
qnotes has submitted a public records request to CPCC. The request includes all email and written communication regarding the incident with Williams, along with any recorded audio of security guards’ radio transmissions.
It isn’t clear when the request, which could include some records protected under educational privacy laws, will be fulfilled. Lowrance has said he does not want to speculate on a timeline.
“It will take time to determine what is safe to provide,” he said. “The college definitely does not want to violate any federal or state laws.”
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About the author: Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.