The following email was sent to the UNC Asheville campus by Chancellor Nancy J. Cable at 5:04 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020:
Dear UNC Asheville Faculty and Staff Colleagues and Students,
It is with deep sorrow and heartache that I share the sad news that one of our staff members, UNC Asheville Police Officer James Hamilton, passed away last night.
Officer Hamilton was a beloved member of the UNC Asheville community, he was a well-known presence at our Bulldog athletic events and other events on campus, and was very involved in his local community including serving as Spindale Town Commissioner. I have spoken with his family and we will share details about his memorial service once arrangements have been made. Our hearts go out to Officer Hamilton’s family and loved ones.
While details are still unfolding, it has been reported to us that it appears his death was due to complications related to COVID-19. Officer Hamilton’s last day on campus was October 6 and there is no indication whatsoever that he contracted COVID-19 on campus. Contact tracing on our campus is complete and individuals who were in contact with him have been notified and have taken the appropriate course of action.
This is upsetting news for our campus community at a time when many are still struggling to cope with last Friday’s events. This is the time when we must hold close our collective commitment to support and care for one another, and to respect the variety of ways through which we all grieve, cope, and process the challenges we are facing together, including the loss of our staff colleague Officer Hamilton.
Students in need of support may contact the Health and Counseling Center at 828.251.6520. The Faculty and Staff Employee Assistance Program, with confidential short-term counseling, is available 24/7 by calling 833.515.0768.