A group of Black UNC alumni called "Hark the Drum" are boycotting UNC’s $4.25 billion campaign known as “For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina” and calling other alumni and North Carolina residents to “join in a movement of awareness of the uncomfortable environment on campus due to systemic inequities for Blacks.”
Participating alumni believe the University’s actions contradict the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., due to the continued conflict over Silent Sam, the dismantling of the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the failure to reappoint Dr. Deborah Stroman to the Kenan-Flagler Business School as chairperson of the Black Faculty and Staff caucus.
Among alumni boycotting are former NBA and UNC basketball player and Sam Perkins (‘84) and activist and minister Michelle Cotton Laws (‘92).
“It is disappointing to have our respectful pleas fall on deaf ears,” Laws said in a statement. “To have administrators dismiss or manipulate the glaring facts and deny that many work in environments that are hostile or create a spirit of fear to speak out. UNC lacks a sense of urgency to a serious and alarming problem.”
In a press release, Hark the Drum expressed the desire for dialogue on systemic inequities at UNC.
“The Hark the Drum grassroots movement is solely purposed to expose the continued facade of acceptance, engagement, and promotion of the Black community at UNC regardless of the changes of senior administrators over the years,” the press release states.
“Frustrated and tired of the administration’s repetitive calls for more unnecessary research and data analysis of the very obvious inequities; and the offering of toothless and non-innovative programs that focus on individuals (and not institutional barriers), alumni have recently found efforts to engage in real dialogue and the design of effective solutions to be unwelcome from the current leadership.”
“For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina” is the largest campaign in the school’s history and the second largest campaign for public universities in the country. It aims to improve the arts and Ackland Art Museum, improve buildings and space and eliminate financial barriers for students.