The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 3rd

Forum Explores Ways to End Campus Racism

Senior Melanie Taylor and junior Kristi Booker, spokeswomen for the On the Wake of Emancipation Campaign, headed up the event, which drew more than 50 students and faculty members.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Sue Kitchen and Director of Minority Affairs Archie Ervin were also in attendance.

The forum was organized in response to the April 2 OWEC protest about charges of institutional racism at UNC.

During the protest, participants presented a list of demands to Shelton on the steps of South Building and then met with him Friday to discuss implementing changes at UNC. "The whole premise of these demands is to guarantee a safe campus environment for people of color at UNC," Booker said to start the forum.

Some of OWEC's demands urge the University to take a more active role in publicizing minorities' role in UNC's history, increase accountability of campus police to ensure no racial profiling and increase financial support for the Office of Minority Affairs.

At Tuesday's forum, students were given the chance to ask Shelton specific questions about racism on campus and his ideas of the situation. The future role of the Office of Minority Affairs was raised.

Shelton said many University offices are undergoing budget cuts next year but that the Office of Minority Affairs will not be affected because of its heightened level of responsibility.

He also responded to questions about housekeeper wages, saying that two pay raises recently have been given. "There have been very specific steps taken," he said. "I think we need to applaud that and then say 'where do we go from there?'"

Shelton also said he hopes to meet the demands of reaching truthful depictions of the campus's history, starting with printed materials generated by UNC. Though Shelton never mentioned it specifically, protesters have demanded that a plaque be placed on Saunders Hall disclosing its namesake's ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Shelton stressed trying to implement some of OWEC's demands via means already in place, such as faculty meetings.

But OWEC spokesman Fred Hashagen, a sophomore political science major, said he is somewhat skeptical of Shelton using the current system to change institutional racism on campus. "(Shelton) has the best of intentions, but his approach might hinder our efforts."

Booker said the event was helpful to both administrators and students. "We did touch on issues that we did not get a chance to discuss on Friday, and it gave students a chance to hold the administration accountable," she said.

OWEC members and administration will meet Monday to continue discussions.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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