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Hunt Institute, UNC grow closer to splitting up

Provost Jim Dean addresses the Board of Trustees regarding the James B. Hunt Institute on Wednesday.

Provost Jim Dean addresses the Board of Trustees regarding the James B. Hunt Institute on Wednesday.

At the Board of Trustees’ University Affairs Committee meeting Wednesday, Provost Jim Dean recommended that the institute stop acting as an affiliate of the University, as it has for nearly a decade. This recommendation was approved by all members of the University Affairs committee and will go in front of the full board at Thursday’s meeting for a final vote.

The recommendation came from a report done by UNC’s Centers & Institutes Review Committee, which found that the institute “operates relatively autonomously in comparison with other centers and institutes at UNC-Chapel Hill and that both the Institute and the University could benefit from greater integration.”

Originally a part of the UNC system and not a specific school, the Hunt Institute is not planning to change its practices to become more like a traditional UNC center or institute, Dean said. These changes would include funneling grants through the University and using University processes to select new leadership.

“The kind of things that we would want them to do to be a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill center are not the type of things they want to be doing,” Dean said about the institute, which lost state funding this summer. “I think everyone from both sides agrees thinks this is the best outcome.”

Still, interim Hunt Institute director April White Henderson told The Daily Tar Heel Tuesday that she doesn’t expect informal relationships with UNC institutions like the School of Education or the Department of Public Policy to end.

The University’s Center & Institutes Review Committee was tasked by the UNC Board of Governors to do reviews of five centers, including the Hunt Institute, in February 2015 when the board was doing a review of the entire system. The Hunt Institute was the only one that the committee recommended to disband from the University.

Dean also announced the approval from Chancellor Carol Folt and himself for the creation of a new center, the Global Social Development Innovation Center, in the School of Social Work. To become a center officially, the full board will have to approve it at Thursday’s meeting.

Carolina Hall exhibit

The committee also heard updates from Vice Chancellor For Student Affairs Winston Crisp, history professor Jim Leloudis and American Indian Center Director Amy Locklear Hertel on the work of the Task Force on UNC-CH History.

The Carolina Hall exhibit, which will explore the history of the hall that was formerly named after KKK leader William Saunders, will be installed in mid-August, Crisp said. He said the task force received proposals from seven design agencies, and the decision will be made by mid-April.

Space is a main issue facing the task force, Crisp said.

“There’s a whole lot of history and not a lot of space.”

Leloudis said his team is working to compress the information they have gathered into a cohesive exhibit. He said he hoped the unveiling of the exhibit will include opportunities for students and the rest of the University community to learn about the process of creating the exhibit.

Folt also asked the task force to do an inventory of campus buildings, monuments, memorials, professorships and more — a comprehensive history of campus, as Leloudis put it.

This inventory has been separated into two phases, and Leloudis was proud to report that they had completed stage one, which reviewed the history of thousands of buildings and monuments on campus as well as the way outsiders learn about them through tours and published works.

“I think it is fair to say many of us know the story (of UNC) in an anecdotal way, but no one before us has investigated this history as systematically,” he said.

By the end of the presentation, the trustees were impressed by the work of the task force, but the three representatives were more thankful than boastful.

“This is, at times, overwhelming — and we feel a tremendous need to get it right,” Crisp said.

“But it is also an honor to be engaged in this work ... this is sort of a lifetime, career opportunity and we appreciate being a part of it.”


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