TO THE EDITOR:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we thank students, faculty, staff and alumni for providing valuable feedback related to the request to rename Saunders Hall and the larger question of fully understanding the University’s history.
Last May, we welcomed the opportunity to hear students’ concerns about Saunders Hall, explained the University’s current naming policy and committed to follow up. We have been researching the issues, gathering facts and listening to a wide range of interested people. We continue to seek input and ideas from the Carolina community.
Like most U.S. universities founded in the 18th century, the University of North Carolina has honored leaders who made great contributions to the University by placing their names on buildings, grounds and monuments. Our challenge is to be responsive to concerns without imposing current social norms on past decisions and ignoring the University’s rich and complex 221-year-old history, good and bad.
Finding a comprehensive solution is not simple. Ultimately, we want to develop a long-term approach that reflects Carolina’s values. We have a unique opportunity to help make our conversations part of Carolina’s educational experience.
Our board embraces this naming issue. Our students have raised important concerns about which we are obligated to respond thoroughly and thoughtfully. We are grateful for the support of Chancellor Folt during our fact-finding and listening process. We will provide an update during the University Affairs Committee meeting at our March trustee meeting on our progress and on future steps.
Dr. W. Lowry Caudill,
Chairman, Board of Trustees