The University Affairs committee will meet today at the Rizzo Conference Center to provide updates about renaming Saunders Hall, contextualizing the Silent Sam statue and creating mandatory education for all incoming students about UNC’s racial history.
The board invited seven guest speakers, including UNC students Omolulu Babatunde, spokeswoman for the coalition, and Frank Pray, president of the UNC College Republicans.
The board also plans to launch a month-long online forum open to the UNC community, allowing people to submit comments and proposals. The board will convene in May to vote on a comprehensive solution.
The Real Silent Sam Coalition protested the name of Saunders Hall, which recognizes former UNC trustee and Ku Klux Klan chief organizer William Saunders.
Junior Kierra Campbell, a member of the Real Silent Sam Coalition, said the coalition is optimistic that the board will respond positively to the group’s efforts.
“The point of going to the meeting on Wednesday is to put more pressure on the Board of Trustees, letting them know that students are watching them, that it is not something they are going to let go,” Campbell said.
“It’s not necessarily rewriting history, but correcting past historical actions in order to make it a more inclusive environment for students,” Campbell said. “I hope the University lets (students) know that they do care about how students feel, and their actions reflect that.”
Board member Charles Duckett said the protests around Saunders Hall date back to the 1970s — but this is the first Board of Trustees to take action.