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The UNC Board of Trustees replies to Silent Sam comments in latest full board meeting

The Board of Trustees met in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center in March 2017.

The UNC Board of Trustees met in full Thursday, Nov. 16 and discussed Silent Sam, Daniel Reichart and the Horace Williams Airport. Here's what you need to know.

The meeting began with an update on Daniel Reichart and an introduction to new media technologies.

Cochrane stated his appreciation for the comments that were voiced at the public session on Wednesday regarding Silent Sam. He clarified that taking action on Silent Sam would be more difficult than it was to rename Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall.

“Under our shared governance structure we, our institution, had then the ultimate authority to make a final decision,” he said. “This current situation is different because of delegated authority issues and current state laws. These are the facts, and we live with them, but we will not stop considering all legal options available.”

Student Body President Elizabeth Adkins gave updates on the new student constitution. She also discussed Undergraduate Student Government’s cooperation with the Graduate and Professional Student Federation to increase voter turnout in student government elections, and an upcoming program called “Disrupting the Culture” that will address rape culture on campus.

Chancellor Carol Folt said Daniel Reichart was awarded the Old North State award by Gov. Roy Cooper for his bravery in attempting to to put out the fire at the Davie Poplar.

“We’re here today to express our heartfelt gratitude for his actions and his inspiration in all events after that explosion,” she said.

Steven King, assistant professor of media and journalism, demonstrated several new technologies, including an autonomous robot that records in 360 degree video, during his feature presentation on leveraging emerging technologies for media and education.

“This robot will follow a reporter around, we can also stop that mode and I can control it remotely. I can also set it up to control it anywhere in the world, so I can drop this robot in Syria and send it to do interviews and things,” King said.

Committee reports include Horace Williams Airport closure and class diversity.

Dwight Stone, chairperson of the Finance, Infrastructure and Audit Committee, brought forth a motion for the BOT to recommend the University to continue with the closure of the Horace Williams Airport, of which the Board voted in favor. Keeping the airport open would result in significant financial losses for UNC, including an expected investment of more than $1 million for runway repairs.

Charles Duckett, chairperson of the University Affairs Committee, touched on the diversity of age in this year’s incoming class, with the lowest age being 17 and the highest being 76.

“That is a 1959 high school graduate that waited 55 years to pursue a degree,” Duckett said. “I think that’s pretty cool.”

Duckett also addressed the work being done for the Unsung Founders Memorial and the Silent Sam, which may include Bluetooth beacons that allow people to learn about the history of McCorkle Place.

“We are making progress on this. It may not make some people happy with the pace, but they’re being very thorough,” Duckett said. 

Julia Grumbles, chairperson of the Commercialization and Economic Development Committee, spoke on Blueprint for Next, UNC’s strategic framework.

“This process is all about implementation and execution and how our university can enhance, support and fund ideas for impact,” Grumbles said.

The Board of Trustees will not meet again until the Spring 2018 semester. 

Reporting contributed by Ashley Cruz and Marine Elia.



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