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The Daily Tar Heel

A month after meeting with administration, activists' demands are a possibility

A little over a month after activists met with administration in early December to discuss their five demands for change on campus, the possibility of these demands becoming a reality is still up in the air.

Rumay Alexander, special assistant to the Chancellor, said the demands are still being discussed.

“We’re saying all those are possibilities for dialogues, but I can’t talk about feasibility until we’ve had a true time for a thorough assessment and bringing the right groups together to have the conversations we need to have in order to have collaboration,” she said.

The five demands, condensed from a list of 50 presented at a November town hall meeting, are: 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.

Alexander said the demand for hiring more black faculty requires a lot of collaboration.

“These are all very complex issues that are going to require coordination with a number of different departments in the University that are related to hiring,” she said.

The Board of Trustees renamed Carolina Hall in May and instituted a 16-year freeze on renaming any campus building, memorial or monument.

Dwight Stone, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said the board believes 16 years is an appropriate time frame.

“The board's resolution on the freeze noted that the new education and curation initiatives would require a period of time to take effect,” Stone said in an email.

Stone said the board’s plan is not absolute.

“The comprehensive plan we adopted to curate and teach the past with greater context is a work in progress,” he said. “We still believe it's going to be a very important journey to study, reflect and learn from the changes that will be taking place on campus over the next several years.”

Kenneth Janken, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, said he couldn’t say for certain how feasible the demand of creating a Ph.D. program in the department is.

“To establish a program it's gotta go through an application process. There are several levels of review — it reviews its way up," he said. "I believe it works its way up all the way to the Board of Governors."

Alexander said all the demands, including publishing data on the home page and the required Black and Blue tour, are still under consideration.

“Specifics at this time are not available, and I think that’s true of all the things on the list," she said. "We're in need to spend the time to understand exactly what people are expecting.”

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