The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Feb. 23, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Student Congress creates Saunders Hall renaming committee

The group formed the select committee at its meeting Tuesday, after first discussing it at a rules and judiciary committee meeting on April 14.

“I believe that Student Congress has beat around the bush enough on this issue and it’s time to take a stand,” said Speaker David Joyner, who proposed the committee.

The committee will research the history of Saunders Hall and ask for student opinions about what should be done.

“My desired outcome is for students to have a place to voice their opinions within Student Congress,” Joyner said.

JoJo Drake was appointed chairwoman of the committee.

“It’s clearly an issue that’s making waves across campus,” she said. “I think we really need to bring in and hear the opinion of others to continue to make waves.”

Drake said she is currently in favor of renaming Saunders Hall, but she wants to provide a contextualized history if the decision is made.

“I think you need to gather information and go about it in that manner,” she said. “You can’t be a committee member and say ‘this is our stance’ until you gather all of the information and look at it that way.”

Drake wants the committee to attend student organization meetings in addition to asking student leaders to attend congressional meetings. She said student involvement is key, but congress has not taken stances on issues in the past.

“When I went out to Saunders Hall when they were picketing one day, I found that some of them did not even know that congress existed or that congress cared,” she said.

Drake said she has seen protests first hand but is eager to garner student input.

“I just felt inundated by it,” Drake said. “While I might not feel personally oppressed, I do in the sense that I’m witnessing others being oppressed.”

The committee is made up of six other members: Travis Broadhurst, Tyler Sharp, Geoffrey McGee, Cole Simons, Benjamin Albert and Youssef Zarrouk.

“We can’t say that there’s not a division of ideas, and I think it’s time that we embrace that,” McGee said. “For congress to go a whole year without hearing anything about this ... I think that’s irresponsible.”

The committee will start next semester and can only be dissolved if members vote unanimously to do so.

At the meeting, Student Body Vice President Rachel Gogal discussed longtime proposals that would replace the Student Supreme Court with campus district courts and give Student Congress members a stipend.

A student referendum struck down the amendments, but Gogal wants to hold another referendum by the end of the school year in order to enact the changes in the coming year.

Congress hopes to hold a vote on April 29, but will publish a fact sheet about the changes beforehand.

“The longer we put this off, the longer we are working without meeting our max efficiency, and I think that’s more wrong than trying to pass this in the last week of class,” said Simons, the chairman of the oversight and advocacy committee.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.