Thorp said he will be off campus all day and will not attend the rally.
Thorp announced his decision Monday to step down as chancellor in June.
The University’s general faculty and its Board of Trustees both held emergency meetings this week to come out in support of the chancellor and ask him to reconsider his decision.
Today’s event is the first time students will have a chance to show their support as a group.
The rally — which will take place on Polk Place and the steps of South Building from noon to 1 p.m. — was organized by student government, the Faculty Council and the Employee Forum in a joint effort.
“We are the three-legged stool of the University,” said Jackie Overton, chairwoman of the Employee Forum.
She said the three groups wanted to work together to demonstrate the collaboration Thorp has always advocated.
Three petitions urging Thorp to withdraw his resignation will also be available to sign throughout the day at two locations in Polk Place and the Pit.
Performances by campus music groups and speeches from both staff and students will begin at noon.
Student Body Secretary Nikita Shamdasani said student government members hope the event will consolidate support from different campus organizations.
“Our job is to represent the student body, and we felt that there has been enough support from students to get together and unite on this front,” Shamdasani said.
Student Body President Will Leimenstoll sent out a campuswide email Thursday urging students to attend.
“(Thorp has) been an incredible advocate for students, and I think we’ve kind of taken it for granted,” Leimenstoll said in an interview.
“Anything we can do to encourage him to stay, I’m definitely supportive of.”
While many said they are hoping the event will change Thorp’s mind, their main goal is to show support for Thorp — no matter what he chooses.
“He’s committed his life to this University, and I think he deserves to know how much we appreciate it,” Shamdasani said.
Overton said she hopes the rally will support the UNC community as much as it will Thorp.
“This feels almost like a death, and we need an opportunity to have a collective healing process,” she said.
“Then we can get on with the business at hand, which is keeping the University running.”
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