A small group of N.C. State University students showed up at Stafford Commons Tuesday afternoon to “freeze out” an alleged Proud Boy who works for the university’s Office of Information Technology and who reportedly harassed an undergraduate student. The event, organized by the N.C. State Student Government, was held in response to the university’s decision not to fire Seagraves.
On January 11, N.C. State administrators announced there would be no action taken against Chadwick Seagraves, the State employee who was named in an Oregon lawsuit for allegedly publicizing the names and personal information of activists in Asheville and Portland, Oregon. Metadata for more than 1,400 of the personal files reportedly traced back to Seagraves. Seagraves has also been photographed at far-right extremist events in North Carolina.
“N.C. State confirmed the employee did not have access to the protected personal information of any N.C. State student or any staff members other than those supervised by the employee,” the university said in a statement after investigators looked through Seagraves’s on-the-job data. “As part of its review, N.C. State also worked with external investigators to ascertain the validity of the allegations.”
Students have demanded the university take action against Seagraves—aside from Tuesday’s student government protest, a petition to fire the technical support services employee has almost 2,800 signatures. The Technician, N.C. State’s largest student newspaper, penned an editorial in support of Tuesday’s movement.
Laura Mooney, a psychology and social work major at the school, showed up after the protest started. Her roommate showed up on time, and said there were less than 50 students present. By the time Mooney arrived, she saw less than 10 students still in attendance.
“I’d like to imagine that it’s just safety protocol that people wouldn’t want to come to campus to be exposed to a lot of people, but I don’t think that people care about this to the same capacity that others do,” Mooney told the INDY.
“As we saw from this protest, not enough students care and I think it’s the onus of the students who do care to continuously talk about this,” Mooney continued. “This goes beyond having someone of abysmal ethical practices to someone who’s actually harmed one of the Pack.”
While the original documents that Seagraves allegedly helped compile were prefaced with a letter saying that “no harm should come” to the doxxed activists, 4chan users started sharing their violent fantasies almost immediately. The lawsuit, submitted by a co-chair of Portland’s Democratic Socialists for America, is still in process.
Seagraves’s reported harassment of an N.C. State student took place in November 2019 after Congressman Dan Bishop’s son Jack said he was assaulted by socialist “thugs” spray painting over Turning Point USA promotions in the Free Expression Tunnel. The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, assumed they were interacting with a bot at the time: Twitter user “Elias McMahone,” Segraves’s apparent alter ego, called the student a #jihadist” and affiliate of “#antifa.” When the student tried to talk to the user privately, “McMahone” said that their location was given away by a photo that the student posted, where a Raleigh roundabout was visible.
“I’m trying to help you see that getting involved in direct action isn’t good for a smart guy like you,” McMahone told the student. “Just be careful what online stuff you get into when everyone’s all excited about a protest and wearing black. It’s a serious thing. I’m just trying to look out for you.”
When the November 2020 lawsuit was filed, the student says they saw Seagraves linked to the alias of their 2019 harasser. Since then, the university was notified, and administrators investigated and made their decision. The student told the INDY that if they weren’t close to graduation, they’d leave the university.
“Every semester I’m like, ‘The next semester is gonna be better, the next semester is gonna be better,'” the student says. “Then that semester you end up getting on a Proud Boys hit list, next one pandemic, the one after that it’s pandemic part two. It’s just been tough.”
Chancellor Randy Woodson released a statement today noting students’ disappointment over the investigation outcome, especially after the January 6 events in Washington. However, he says all employees are protected by the First Amendment.
“Let’s not let the haters or our differences divide us,” Woodson said. “We must continue to stand together condemning hate and intolerance and making it clear these are not acceptable here. You can keep using your free speech rights to make your voices heard about the inclusive and welcoming environment you want and expect at N.C. State. This administration will also keep doing all we can to foster and strengthen that culture.”
Seagraves referred the INDY to a November statement he made to the News & Observer.
“I have been subjected to an organized campaign of slander composed of outright lies, half truths, and out of context claims initiated by anonymous anarchists and ‘antifascists’ that is designed to punish me and suppress my right to political expression using intimidation … with the intent to destroy my career and reputation,” he said in an email.
“I categorically denounce white supremacism and, as a Constitutionalist and Free Speech Absolutist, I abhor the concept of fascism and authoritarianism of any sort,” he continued.
Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.