English professor arrested for stealing political signs in Asheville

by WorldTribune Staff, October 10, 2018

A UNC-Asheville English professor has been  charged with stealing political signs, including some reading “Drain the Swamp” and “Vote Republican,” a report said.

Dr. Amanda Wray, an associate professor in the university’s English Department, turned herself in on Oct. 7 at the Buncombe County Detention Facility, according to a report by The Asheville Tribune.

Dr. Amanda Wray

Wray was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of stealing political signs and has a court date of Dec. 4.

According to the report, Wray was one of two women who Leicester resident Mike Summey said were stealing the signs from numerous locations in Buncombe County. The signs included the phrases “Drain the Swamp”, “Democrat corruption”, “Angry Taxpayers” and “Vote Republican.”

In an Oct. 6 Facebook post, Summey wrote: “Last night, just before 10 pm, I caught two women in the act of stealing our signs. I watched them remove the signs then rushed in to confront them. Both were carrying a sign when I ask them what they were doing. They said they were taking the signs. I told them what they were doing was theft and I intended to report them. At this point they ran across the street to their car and quickly put the signs in the back of it. I grabbed my cell phone and quickly followed them where I made this picture of the license plate on the car as they tried to speed away.”

After filing a report with the local sheriff’s department, Summey said an officer ran the tag from the photo he took and it came back to Wray. Summey said he looked Wray up on Facebook and immediately recognized her as one of the women who took the signs.

Wray states on her UNC-Asheville webpage: “I am interested in language practices, looking in particular at the ways in which words have social power (to construct and deconstruct). What you say has great potential to contribute to or to interrupt social norms, and students in my classes can expect conversation about everyday strategies for using language to address social oppressions. I consider writing an important tool for critical thinking and creativity, but also I see the ability to write effectively and appropriately for different situations to be a most valuable and marketable skill within and beyond the university. My research interests involve oral history, feminism, public scholarship, rhetorical practices of consciousness, visual rhetoric, professional writing, research methods, and creative nonfiction.”

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