So if students with meal plans aren’t participating, and students without five extra dollars for lunch every day aren’t participating, then who is?
This seems like a dilemma from which only students privileged enough to pay for social impact are exempt.
Herein lies the fundamental issue with Boycott UNC — it involves extra resources, and any form of protest that involves extra resources to participate is inherently inaccessible.
The other facet of this protest, boycotting UNC Student Stores, is not so much inaccessible as it is irrationally targeted.
Unless Chancellor Folt is blatantly lying to us, this effort could serve to negatively impact the communities which the boycott’s mission seeks to empower by reducing funding for student scholarships.
Whether there are enough students participating in the boycott to make this a real concern is unclear.
However, what is undeniable is that it takes a certain amount of privilege to overlook the possibility that the boycott could be limiting the opportunity for low-income students to attend UNC, especially if it’s only being done for optics.
The whole point of a boycott is to siphon funding from an establishment until demands are met — no matter how long it takes.
Realistically, the administration would much rather satisfy the demands of its conservative donors than those of a handful of students.
All of this is not to say that we disagree with the mission of Boycott UNC.
We wholeheartedly support its commitment to both taking down Silent Sam and making this campus a safe and inclusive space for students of color. However, it is difficult to offer that same support to a form of protest that is only accessible to some students.
It’s not that we think protesting shouldn’t require work. Protesting is not and should not be easy — it should require extra effort. It should not, however, disenfranchise people who want to help but don’t have the resources.
Host rallies, lead marches, call representatives, write letters, perform poetry, stage sit-ins or resist in other ways.
Rather than excluding students who cannot spend money in opposition of the University, perhaps encourage those who have spending money to instead fund the Center for Civil Rights or other organizations that support marginalized communities.