The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday January 20th

African-American Greek groups pitch SASB plots

UNC’s African-American fraternities and sororities are honoring their heritage with a proposal for a garden of plots in SASB Plaza.

Plots are monuments to the historical aspects of National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations. Michael Morrison, the president of UNC’s National Pan-Hellenic Council, the organizations’ governing body, is leading the effort by writing the proposal. He said he hopes to get approval by the end of the year.

“We’re behind the curve. A lot of schools in the area already have plots and they are PWIs (Predominantly White Institutions), and there is no reason we should be without,” he said.

Over the summer, the group worked on an official proposal explaining the importance of plots.

“There has been a lot of progress this summer in terms of moving forward with plots and just continuing to make sure it’s a priority,” Morrison said.

The proposal is going through its final stages of review before going to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp for approval.

“Our job right now is kind of being the foot soldiers and the workers of what’s going on, and present to him a document that encompasses what we’re trying to do and offers up the best strategy to achieve it,” Morrison said.

Ion Outterbridge, assistant director of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and Community Involvement, said the biggest problem hasn’t been support, but timing.

“The biggest obstacle is just making sure we do it the correct way and appreciate the process,” Outterbridge said. “I think from the students’ perspectives, it’s understanding that this is not going to happen in a year.”

Student Body President Houston Summers, who included the need for plots in his campaign platform, acts as a liaison between Crisp and the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

“I was shocked to find out we have had this community on campus for 50-plus years and there is nothing in place to recognize their contributions,” he said.

A committee made up of administrators and students is planning trips to neighboring universities, such as Duke and Elon, that have National Pan-Hellenic Council gardens.

“My last conversation with Vice Chancellor Crisp was that we have to be more unified as NPHC in order to present the University with what we need to get done,” said Summer Holmes, National Pan-Hellenic Council vice president.

“We need some kind of identity or some kind of representation of the amazing things they do on and off campus.”

Holmes and Summers agreed plots are expected to open the door to recognizing more minority accomplishments on campus.

“There’s not as much on campus as there should be to recognize the incredible impact that members of the African-American community and other minority members have had on campus,” Summers said. “I think this is one step in the right direction.”

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