We cannot easily identify where Chancellor Carol Folt stands on these issues and what she is actively doing to solve them. Leadership on these problems requires more than negotiating deals behind closed doors.
More than the statue is being protested when discussing Silent Sam.
Almost 50 percent of minority male freshmen graduate from UNC, according to a study in 2010. Tuition is increasing steadily, making socio-economic diversity less possible. Students were told to direct their comments about the cuts to centers to then-Student Body President Andrew Powell instead of attending a Board of Governors meeting themselves.
Programs have occurred, and perhaps progress was made, but why not email the students about those developments after Silent Sam is spray-painted?
It would be refreshing for Chancellor Folt and other leaders to speak on how they plan to bring change to the entire system, not just create more bureaucratic channels to discuss it.
For example, in response to a broad range of grievances from students, administrators have continually taken some action, but those small changes have been coupled with backhanded actions that could quell the conversation that created them.
And in the renaming of Saunders Hall, students were given a more contextualized history but also the hackneyed name of Carolina Hall, a 16-year moratorium on the renaming of buildings, and “Hurston Hall” signs torn down by police.
We are not saying the University is not working on these problems, but their primary solutions should not be bureaucratic.
Carolina Conversations was the attempt to join the conversation. But if the administration wants to do so, leaders must give students their real opinions and plans publicly. Without an honest attempt to change the problems created by structural racism at UNC, Carolina Conversations maintains the status quo.
It is akin to the now golden plaques on Silent Sam, shining anew in their hypocrisy after the washing away of the spray paint. Without leaders saying how they plan to actually change policies, it is hard not to see them as those that cleaned the monument. Trying to clean up a mess but only making the plaque more golden.