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The Daily Tar Heel

Senior Class Gives Nod to Unsung Founders

The Unsung Founders monument received 44.9 percent of the votes, while a need-based scholarship for a senior received 28 percent and a Memorial Hall marquee garnered 27.1 percent.

The memorial, dedicated to blacks who constructed some of the first buildings at UNC, will take the form of a monument to honor their efforts.

Senior Class President Ben Singer said seniors received two e-mails via the senior listserv with complete descriptions of all the gifts, including the fact that the Memorial Hall marquee and the need-based scholarship were dedicated to the late Chancellor Michael Hooker.

Board of Elections Chairwoman Emily Margolis said this is the first year the class gift voting process was online. She said she ran it online at the request of the senior class officers. Margolis attributes the increase in voter turnout, up to 718 from 470 last year, to the online voting system.

Last year seniors had to e-mail the class president their votes. This year voting was conducted through the Student Central Web site. "I'm excited because participation nearly doubled," Singer said.

But the online ballot limited how the gifts could be described. On the voting Web site neither the marquee nor the scholarship description indicated that they would be given in memory of Hooker.

"We were told to put it down in one sentence or less," Singer said. He said there was a link at the top of the page for seniors to access full descriptions of the gift that did specify the dedication.

Margolis said she wished both the marquee and the scholarship descriptions on the voting site indicated that they were in memory of Hooker. But she said Singer asked her to omit the phrase because of the limitations of the Web site.

Singer said he did not edit the descriptions to aid the chances of the Unsung Founders memorial, which he strongly advocated for in a letter he wrote to The Daily Tar Heel. "To cut from any one of them did an injustice to each," Singer said.

Senior Class Vice President Ursula Dimmling said that after speaking to Singer, she believes the phrase was removed because it was late at night and that they were pressed for time. "I have to trust it was an honest mistake," she said. "I think it's unfortunate if students had not previously read the full descriptions." Dimmling said she welcomes any concerns from students.

Singer said the omission could not have had an effect at all due to the margin of victory of the Unsung Founders memorial. But Margolis said she isn't sure if it affected the voting.

She said, "I will rerun the election on the day of the special election, Nov. 8, if the senior class sees fit."

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

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