On Sept. 10th, 1992, hundreds of students marched to South Building to deliver a letter to then Chancellor Paul Hardin demanding that the University establish a freestanding Black Cultural Center on campus.
After months of organizing by students and community members, the University gave in and established a committee to find the space. In 2004, the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History finally opened its doors.
Within this and other celebrated narratives of activism at UNC, we witness an essential role of students as effective political agents of change.
In the past few years in North Carolina, we’ve seen the rise of regressive political forces hostile to public education.
In response to this changing climate and recent painful budget cuts, students across the state are mobilizing a grassroots movement: N.C. Student Power Union.
It is inspired by global student movements, like the successful Quebec student protests that engaged thousands and won a yearlong battle against tuition increases.
Student Power advocates for increased transparency and public input in the Board of Governors’ decision-making process and affordable and accessible public education.
UNC’s Student Power branch is also organizing around demands for the University to establish gender nonspecific housing on campus and divest from coal.
These demands are urgent and tangible, but the pursuit of building a student movement is founded within timeless beliefs: Our education is not complete without its deliberate reinvestment in our communities. We owe something to one another and to those who will inherit the University after us.