The task force, co-chaired by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp, history professor Jim Leloudis and American Indian Center Director Amy Locklear Hertel, was created in August to “share an accurate, accessible and complete history of the University,” according to an email they sent Tuesday.
But as of now, the task force has only these three members and they’ve only laid plans for taking action — plans they will present to the Board of Trustees today.
One of the challenges, Crisp said, is that the task force’s small size makes it more difficult to accomplish a great deal in a small time frame.
“Are we as far as I would have probably wanted us to be? I would say no. We can make no excuses about that,” he said.
Crisp said the task force’s focus so far has been making sure the policies the Board of Trustees wants to implement on campus can become a reality in the future.
“I think the vast majority of what the task force has done — and remember we’re talking about three people ... has been around organizing, making sure that we have fully understood how to translate the Board of Trustees’ resolutions into a list of things that have to be done,” Crisp said.
“You know, you don’t just take those resolutions and then dig in. You have to translate — what does all this actually mean in terms of what are the things that have to be done?”
Destinee Grove, president of the UNC chapter of the NAACP, said she hopes that in any actions the task force takes, it will make a commitment to being transparent about UNC’s history, especially with regard to racial issues from the University’s past and present.
“I just hope that we can really do honor to everyone in this situation and to really portray the honest truth about what has happened, even though it may not look the best,” she said. “I just hope we can do justice to that and tell it for what it is.”
One of the resolutions discussed in the email is the creation of an exhibit inside Carolina Hall describing the history of the building — including students’ recent efforts to the change the building’s name, Crisp said.
“When we talk about the naming of the building and also the recent changing of the name, absolutely it will include the story of the activism and the work that went into, and that led up to, the Board of Trustees actually taking the action they did,” he said.
Geography professor Altha Cravey supported students’ efforts to rename Saunders Hall to Hurston Hall. She said she’s disappointed with the Board of Trustees’ decision to call the building Carolina Hall.
She said she challenges the task force to work as much as possible to address the charged atmosphere on campus surrounding UNC’s history of racial relations.
“The constraints that they’re working within seem very limiting to me in terms of the thoroughly racialized landscape that we walk through every day,” Cravey said.