More than 50 students came to Friday’s caucus for people of color on campus. The caucus followed Friday’s rally that called for the renaming of Saunders Hall and the contextualization of the Silent Sam monument.
Saunders Hall was named after William Saunders, a confederate colonel in the Civil War, a UNC trustee and a chief organizer for the Ku Klux Klan.
Members of the Muslim Students Association, the Black Student Movement, the Radical Asians, The Real Silent Sam Coalition and Ujima created the caucus to address the lack of minority representation on campus.
“There’s this feeling in class when you’re the only person of color, and you feel like you have to speak on behalf of everyone in your race,” said Ashley Winkfield, an organizer with The Real Silent Sam.
Tasia Harris, who facilitated Friday’s caucus, said it was a welcoming environment for students of color to voice their concerns and create a sense of community at a predominantly white institution.
“Some spoke towards feeling like they were not seen as full, whole people or that they had to prove themselves at the University,” Harris said.
Harris cited both national and local events that made students of color feel isolated, mentioning the Wainstein report’s racial undertones and the Board of Governor’s proposal to cut research centers and institutes that serve minorities.
“It’s especially bad on Yik Yak, where there have been many hurtful comments made under anonymity,” Harris said. “These racist sentiments are still in people’s minds today on this campus.”