The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday December 7th

Provost: Progress Has Been Made To Curb Racism

Shelton said a lack of financial support from the state will make addressing some of the OWE Campaign's demands difficult.

The OWE Campaign and Shelton held the semester's first joint forum Tuesday to discuss the administration's progress on a set of demands the group presented last spring. The forums are part of Race Relations Week.

Students presented a list of 10 demands to Chancellor James Moeser -- accepted in person by Shelton -- after a series of events that brought race relations on campus to the forefront.

The demands presented by the OWE Campaign, formerly OWEC, included establishing mandatory diversity training for faculty and staff, expanding the recruitment and retention of faculty and students of color, and increasing the funding for the Institute of African-American Research.

In a letter Shelton recently sent to OWE Campaign organizer Kristi Booker, who also is the president of the Black Student Movement, the provost said the University had come a long way in meeting the demands. "I think we have made very substantial progress," Shelton said in an interview Wednesday.

Shelton said a few of the demands already have been met -- housekeepers and groundskeepers have received two pay raises, and $10,000 has been spent to restore grave sites of black slaves and their descendants in the cemetery on South Road.

Meeting other demands has been difficult because of limited financial help from the state, Shelton said. "This year the state's help was pathetic," he said. "We have taken big budget hits."

The completion of a monument to UNC's black leaders is an example of a project that is still in the planning stages because of lack of funding, said Michael Woods, another OWE Campaign organizer.

Shelton said he expects to address black faculty and student recruitment in two reports slated to be released this month.

"I hope they show that we made an improvement and hired five or 10 (black faculty) that we may not have (in the past)," Shelton said.

He said the report on student recruitment shows the increased percentage of minority students on campus.

Despite the efforts made to meet the demands, Shelton said not all of them will be met soon. "None of this is a quick in-and-out," Shelton said. "The larger issues are tough to work on."

Booker echoed Shelton. "Taking things step by step ... and making realistic goals is the best way to accomplish things."

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

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