In many ways this has been a dispiriting semester for the UNC community. Despite the violence and murder in Charlottesville, as close a proxy to Chapel Hill as exists, Silent Sam still stands.
The Board of Governors for the UNC system not only effectively shut down our law school’s Center for Civil Rights, it also declared an escalation of its partisan war on UNC. They have done everything from suggesting an expensive move of system headquarters to Raleigh in order to escape the horrifying perception that UNC is a flagship institution, to sending a letter from board members scolding UNC officials for even asking for Governor Cooper’s guidance on Silent Sam.
These events, combined with the unwillingness of almost all UNC leaders to take a strong and principled stand on anything remotely controversial creates hopelessness.
While I deeply empathize with this bleak outlook, it is exactly because of these events that we must continue to build a democratic opposition to regressive forces around us.
For some people, the impotence of University actors means that the only available tool of change is to use electoral politics. Certainly the electoral politics of North Carolina are important, leading up to a 2018 general assembly election that will decide if Republicans in North Carolina maintain super-majorities in both houses that essentially allow them to govern as a single-party state.