UPDATE: UTC employees on leave following public indecency charges

By Ashley Day, Kirsten Raper & Eric Wise — Editor-In-Chief, News Editor, Assistant News Editor

Updated at 12:38 p.m. on 12/4/2017: Two UTC employees are now on paid administrative leave after they were given citations for public indecency charges.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing Chuck Cantrell and Coordinator for Veteran Student Services Joe Wiram were both issued misdemeanor citations for public indecency on Sunday, Dec. 3.

The Chattanooga Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit made an undercover visit to Cinema One, located at 4100 Rossville Blvd, on Nov. 3 after receiving complaints from citizens about sexual activity occurring in the theater, according to court documents. The undercover officer observed Cantrell and Wiram engaged in a sex act.

Cantrell appeared at the Hamilton County Jail on Sunday for processing, and Wiram appeared for processing on Monday. Both men have court dates set for Jan. 2.

UTC’s Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing, George Heddleston, said that the university is aware of the incident and currently reviewing it. He said the university was made aware of the situation prior to this weekend and that both Cantrell and Wiram were placed on administrative leave yesterday.

“The timeline is indefinite because we have more evaluation to do based on what we learned from the legal report,” he said.

Cantrell currently teaches a Media Writing 1 class at the university, although according to some students, he hasn’t held class since Nov. 20, even though the last day of classes for the university is Dec. 4.

Lauren Piersall, a sophomore from Chattanooga, is in Cantrell’s class this semester. She said she received an email from Cantrell that said class would be cancelled for the remainder of the semester and that future assignments would be submitted through email.

“I’m just super shocked because this is a guy who is supposed to teach us about being professional in the media, and he did the most unprofessional thing imaginable and it reflects really bad on the school,” she said.

Piersall also said that she emailed Jack Zibluk, the department head of Communication, because she and a few others from Cantrell’s class are now worried about how the rest of the semester will play out.

Zibluk said that at this point, he will meet with Cantrell’s class, which takes place today at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re working with the class to make sure that they will have the best possible educational experience [despite] what has happened. We’re doing everything to minimize the effect of this incident on [the students].”

Ultimately Zibluk said this incident is a “teachable moment,” for the university.

“This is a lesson not just for faculty and staff, but for students. These days your personal life can easily become public,” Zibluk said. “And when these things become public, it can ruin every other aspect of your life.”

Chuck Cantrell has worked for UTC for over 25 years and is most well-known for the emails that he sends out to all UTC students, faculty and staff. Joe Wiram is in charge of UTC’s Student Veterans Services and Student Veterans Organization.

The University Echo reached out to both Cantrell and Wiram, and has not heard back from either.

We will update this story as more information becomes available.




Eric Wise

Eric Wise

Assistant News Editor

Eric Wise is the assistant news editor for the Echo. He is a junior studying communications and minoring in business. Eric likes to go for a long drive with no real destination while listening to his favorite podcasts.

  1. UTC should take the time to do a through house cleaning. That behavior should not be tolerated period. That should as be a message for the remaining individuals that engage in that type of behavior. Students deserve a better class of individuals influencing their lives.

  2. If I can get together with all my buds and engage in sexual activities while we watch our favorite pornos why can’t my man Chuck do the same thing in a movie theatre with his man. #FreeChuck

  3. “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell;” Don’t embarrass My University. Do what you are compelled by Nature to do in private, not in a Public place, even if that particular “public” precedes “nuisance.”
    Feeling sorry for your families, friends and yourselves.

  4. Disgusting perverted trash should not be allowed to be around students… and you would be shocked to find out what these do-nothings are paid… and you wonder why your tuition is so high.

  5. I have know Chuck for many years and this is heartbreaking to me. I’ll be praying for you and your family Chuck. They must be devistated.

  6. It is crazy that a student can be banned from school for something as simple as a marajuana charge due to a zero tolerance policy but teachers receive a payed leave when they are caught doing sexual actions in public this blows my mind and I can’t for a second understand why they would let either of these men resume there positions at this or any other school this whole incident is intolerable!

  7. This is what happens when you suppress sexuality in an ass – backward place. These are far from the first offenders here. That place has been open for decades. They’re not pedophiles like Moore, so please don’t vilify them unnecessarily? Yep, and that’s from the “favorably melanated.

  8. What I find surprising is that Chattanooga SVU is busting individuals partaking in consensual sex rather that dealing with the multitude of rapists running free in the city. There are crimes out there that need to be dealt with, rape kits to be tested, cases to be opened regarding people who *actually* pose a threat to society.

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