On Nov. 17, NC State opened an investigation on Chadwick Seagraves, a desktop support manager in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), due to multiple claims that Seagraves is connected to the Proud Boys, a white nationalist organization, and offensive social media posts. As of Dec. 16, a month after these allegations came to light, the investigation is still ongoing and the University has no updates to report, according to Mick Kulikowsi, NC State spokesperson.
Seagraves released a statement to Technician and other news outlets on Nov. 25 denying the allegations that he is a member of the Proud Boys.
“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 and the Heckler’s veto with the intent to destroy my career and reputation,” Seagraves said in the statement.
Seagraves is under investigation in regards to conduct on a now-deleted Twitter account the Anonymous Comrades Collective, a group of leakers, claimed was his, and for photos and a video which placed him at what has been called an “anti-Islam rally” in 2017 with far-right activist Augustus Sol Invictus. Additionally, the group claimed he is a member of the Proud Boys and that he was part of the release of over 2,000 Black Lives Matter protesters’ private information in Portland and Asheville. An organization, Portland’s Democratic Socialists of America, has filed a lawsuit in relation to that leak.
In an additional email Seagraves shared with Technician, he claims the 2017 event was a Free Speech rally in celebration of Flag Day and that Invictus was a late addition to what Seagraves states is a “very eclectic list of speakers,” which included Sue Googe, a former North Carolina Congress candidate; Alex Smith, a former Muslim; and DJ Wiggins, a pastor.
“As a librarian, I might loan or recommend books whose contents I completely disagree with that are part of a collection that includes books many people disagree with and want banned,” Seagraves said in the email. “Does that mean because I introduce the collection of those ideas to the public that I agree with, and am responsible for, all they include? Of course not!”
In response to the other allegations, Seagraves said, “I am not a member of the Proud Boys,” and said he welcomes NC State’s internal investigation in his statement.
Seagraves never had access to the protected personal information of any NC State student or any employees he does not supervise while in his position at OIT, but the University has “further restricted” his access while the investigation continues.
Seagraves’ full statement to Technician and other news outlets is as follows:
“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 and the Heckler’s veto with the intent to destroy my career and reputation.
I categorically denounce white supremacism and, as a Constitutionalist and Free Speech Absolutist, I abhor the concept of fascism and authoritarianism of any sort.
With regard to the university’s investigation, I welcome a review of my performance and record as an employee. I have served in my position with distinction and believe that my record of diversity as a hiring manager; the equality, kindness, and compassion with which I treat all of my colleagues; and my integrity and commitment to upholding the university’s values of diversity and equity will stand alone.
In 2017 I was still a registered Democrat and had been active in politics for the Democratic Party since 2001. In 2008 I worked at an inner city polling location in Indianapolis as a precinct "judge" and was part of the ground campaign for then candidate Obama. It was seeing exactly the sort of horrible attacks and suppression of free speech that I am going through right now that caused me to reassess my values and position. Our current state of politics is a clash of values. Each side seeing the same set of facts and coming to varying conclusions based on the hierarchy of values to which they subscribe. As a librarian, trained to provide authoritative sources, I have witnessed even those once trusted authorities sink into bias and partisanship. Epistemologically, we are at our lowest.
“I am not a member of the Proud Boys.
To paint me as a racist and fascist is heinous slander. I will continue to stand up for the principles and values put in place by the Founding Fathers. If you follow the news at all you will see that conservatives and centrists alike are being denied their right to free speech through violence, deplatforming, and intimidation by violent people who weaponize the term "fascist" or "racist" to denigrate those whose views they oppose. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying "Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom - and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech." That liberty stands for everyone - regardless of race, creed, sex, or orientation.
I would ask the people who know me to judge me based on how I have treated them and who they know me to be, not on the spurious claims of anonymous activists.”