Decorated Special Operations Independent Duty Corpsman, U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Eric Gilmet, has been prejudicially rejected by the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill’s Graduate School. The university determined that his “alleged behavior is more likely than not to pose a danger to members of the University community, University property, or the proper function of the academic process.”

Here is the problem: Gilmet has not been convicted of a crime as he has not even been to trial. Nor did he commit one in the first place. Not only that but under normal circumstances, this particular UNC program is 97 percent online, with only 3 percent being on campus. So, it is unclear how Gilmet would have posed a danger to the university’s community. Additionally, UNC is now conducting classes entirely online due to COVID-19.

Why would a man with no criminal record be denied admission to a program that he is more than qualified for? Let’s examine the situation.

Gilmet is a member of the MARSOC 3, a group of Marine Raiders who have been falsely accused, by their command, of manslaughter and other overzealous charges for what video footage shows to be self-defense.

Eric Gilmet with Vice President Mike Pence.

In Erbil, Kurdistan (northern Iraq) on New Year’s Eve, 2018, with permission to leave base, the three decorated Marine Raiders were assaulted by a drunken civilian contractor, Rick Rodriguez, after he instigated a verbal confrontation. Video footage shows Rodriguez, a retired Green Beret, acting so aggressively that he was thrown out of the establishment. Footage also shows that he decided to wait outside in the MARSOC 3’s path as they later exited and were walking to their vehicle. Rodriguez assaulted them. After he had thrown his third punch, one of the Raiders stepped in to defend his fellow Raiders from receiving additional harm and knocked Rodriguez out with one punch. Rodriguez’s group of friends either left or stood around not knowing what to do. The three Raiders brought the contractor back to base for observation.

Chief Eric Gilmet watched over Rodriguez through the night and into the morning. After having been relieved early that morning by a base contractor, Gilmet was called back to find that Rodriguez was now unresponsive. Gilmet provided CPR during the entire drive to the base hospital. Rodriguez was then transferred to a hospital in Germany where he died four days later of complications arising from his intoxicated state and from having choked on his own vomit.

As a medic, Gilmet was highly qualified to care for Rodriguez. The MARSOC 3 acted in self-defense as video footage proves, and Gilmet’s only role was to provide care after Rodriguez’s sole instigation led to the situation’s eventual outcome.

During the subsequent Article 32 hearing, video evidence and testimony from the lead investigator confirmed that Rodriguez was the aggressor and sole instigator in the incident. It was also shown that the Marines did not use excessive force, nor did they attempt to obstruct justice. Despite that evidence, MARSOC leaders have contradicted their own core beliefs by neglecting to support the accused and their families, punishing the accused by taking away pay, and suspending their security clearances. Furthermore, they sent the accused to a general court-martial — which carries the most severe punishment — despite video evidence that shows self-defense. They also inexplicably included charges that were found to have no grounds during the Article 32 process.