The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday March 29th

Saunders Hall renamed Carolina Hall

The Board of Trustees passed three resolutions to contextualize and rename campus monuments

<p>Board of Trustees chairman Lowry Caudill, Chancellor Carol Folt, board member Haywood Cochrane, student body president Houston Summers and board member Chuck Duckett answer questions after the board voted to rename Saunders Hall.   </p>
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Board of Trustees chairman Lowry Caudill, Chancellor Carol Folt, board member Haywood Cochrane, student body president Houston Summers and board member Chuck Duckett answer questions after the board voted to rename Saunders Hall.   

Saunders Hall is now Carolina Hall.

With 30 minutes of discussion and a 10-3 vote, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution stating the University made an error in honoring William Saunders' Ku Klux Klan activity by using his name on the building. 

Peter Grauer, Haywood Cochrane and Dwight Stone voted against renaming Saunders Hall. 

Chancellor Carol Folt and board chairman Lowry Caudill said the name Carolina Hall came up as an appeal to "unity."

“We wanted a name that was a unifying name," said Caudill. "We wanted a name that we could reach back to where we started, where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed. We felt that at this point in time, a unifying name was important.”

Zora Neale Hurston, the namesake requested by The Real Silent Sam Coalition, was not mentioned during the meeting. When asked, board member Alston Gardner said they could not find enough evidence of Hurston's connection to UNC to justify naming a building in her honor. 

“Renaming it Carolina Hall is automatically silencing all of the students who worked on this and also all students of color who have ever attended UNC and ever will attend UNC," said Judy Robbins, a senior who attended the meeting with members of The Real Silent Sam Coalition. 

The board passed three resolutions regarding the renaming and contextualization of campus buildings, monuments and memorials. 

The second resolution renames Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall, and the third resolution puts a 16-year freeze on the renaming of any campus buildings, monuments, memorials and landscapes. 

"Putting a 16-year freeze on it is basically saying, ‘We hope all of you will graduate, and we hope that this movement will die, and we won’t have to deal with it again,'" Robbins said. 

This 16-year freeze applies to UNC's naming policy, which allows for honorary names to be revoked if continuing to use it would “compromise the public trust, dishonor the University’s standards or otherwise be contrary to the best interests of the University.” The decisions made today are in compliance with this policy. 

Board members voted to enact a the temporary freeze so the University administration can develop a program for contextualized education on campus history. 

“We could have picked any time, but we picked 16 years because that would give us four full generation of students, eight full boards of trustees; it gives Carol some time at Carolina," Caudill said. "We wanted an extended period of time to allow this to root.”

The first resolution creates historical markers for McCorkle Place — the site of the Silent Sam and Unsung Founders memorials — and Saunders Hall. The markers will contextualize the history of each monument. Markers must be approved by the board no later than the November 2015 meeting. 

The first resolution also states that the University must evaluate all information they have published on campus buildings, monuments, memorials and landscapes. The University will make recommendations for updating and contextualizing, with approval by the board, no later than the May 2016 meeting. 

The resolution suggests creating a public space that would house a permanent collection of UNC's history. 

Finally, the first resolution asks the University to offer an educational program related to UNC's history. Alston Gardner, board vice chairman, said this may look like an orientation module for incoming students or a no-credit, free course open to current students. 

“As we plan the curation and educational initiatives, we will be guided by the same care and thoughtful deliberation exemplified by our trustees,” Folt said.

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misattributed a comment from Alston Gardner to Lowry Caudill. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error. 

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