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The Daily Tar Heel

Town hall protestors prioritize demands, will meet with Chancellor Carol Folt today

The coalition of about 80 students stood up at the town hall meeting and read off a list of 50 demands that they want to see happen at the University and in the Chapel Hill community. The town hall was moderated by Chicago Tribune editorial board member Clarence Page, who was paid $12,500 for the event, according to public records obtained by The Daily Tar Heel.

The group is now prioritizing five demands, senior and activist Kescia Hall said.

They reached out to workers, faculty and graduate students to get every perspective. It took them about two weeks to gather input, said Zakyree Wallace, a student and an active member of the coalition.

Wallace said the demands were created to bring the black community together after racially motivated protests at the University of Missouri. The list was started by past students and then was updated by a group of current black student leaders.

“Overall, the goal of releasing these demands was not to just be flashy or showy or over-the-top or anything like that,” Wallace said. “It was really responding to the events at the University of Missouri and also trying to bring together the black community and for us to really talk to each other about what we need and things that need change.”

The coalition has focused on five demands: cluster hiring within each University department to increase the number of black faculty; the revoking of the 16-year moratorium on changing University buildings’ names and the renaming of Carolina Hall to Hurston Hall; a Ph.D. program in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies; a mandatory Black and Blue Tour for new UNC students; and published data on the home page of the UNC website displaying the admission and the graduation rates of minority students.

A mandatory tour of UNC’s campus focusing on racial history would be part of new student orientation. Hall said the tour would put everyone on the same page before they began their studies at the University.

“The Black and Blue Tour, as a rite of passage to start Carolina, is a great way to start on truth, to start on honesty and to start opening up dialogue of where black students here are coming from,” Hall said.

Wallace said the demand for publicized statistics of black admission and graduation rates is especially important to her because incoming students deserve transparency.

“We really, ultimately, wanted this demand to really illustrate the impact that this environment, currently in this community, that doesn’t acknowledge racism, that doesn’t acknowledge anti-blackness on campus and how it affects black students and how it affects black students academic trajectory,” Wallace said.

Wallace said she has received threats because she is black, and this has caused her to re-evaluate being a student at UNC.

The demand calls for following up with students who withdraw or transfer to find out why they left UNC.

“A lot of these folks are not leaving because of academic ineligibility. They have the grades, but they’re leaving. So, why are they leaving?” Hall said.

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