At Wednesday's Board of Trustee's meeting, members of the board revisited the 2015 policy that changed the name of a UNC building to Carolina Hall, reviewed the composition of UNC's incoming students and prepared for University Day.
Drawing comparisons between the Saunders Hall decision and today
After BOT Vice Chairperson Chuck Duckett called the meeting of the BOT’s University Affairs committee to order, he began a PowerPoint review of the Board’s 2015 decision, in which they renamed a campus building and initiated a 16-year freeze on name changes to other university buildings. In light of the Board’s recent obligation to provide a plan of action to the Board of Governors by Nov. 15 regarding Silent Sam, Duckett wanted to reaffirm the University's priorities regarding contextualization, which were initially expressed back in 2015.
“One of the reasons we bring this up is to reinforce that those resolutions are in place,” he said.
The 2015 resolution expressed a commitment from the University to provide an accurate, accessible and complete history of all University locations and buildings. It also suggests strategies such as a housing a collection of UNC history in a permanent public space and implementing an online orientation course about the history of the University.
“There are always questions and statements about what this university’s intent was, and I think this university is very unified in this attempt to tell the full, complete history of this university,” Duckett said. “People can do better on knowing the complexity of the history of this fine university.”
He then disavowed a recent Daily Tar Heel article that quoted a professor who suggested that many University buildings still had names that allowed an air of white superiority to persist into the present day. Duckett argued that contextualization has always been a priority of the BOT and will continue to be.
“I think it’s universally accepted around here that we celebrate and defend freedom of speech at this university,” he said. “However, one does not have the right to present untrue statements as fact.”
Housekeepers honored for extra efforts
Once Duckett finished his opening remarks, Shayna Hill addressed the Board on behalf of the Employee Forum. She used her time to call attention to the recent overtime work done by the UNC housekeeping services. She said they played an unsung but integral role during the past few weeks, assisting the University in such ways as facilitating barricade placement for Silent Sam protests and contributing to recent Hurricane Florence recovery operations. A team of UNC housekeepers was dispatched to UNC-Pembroke in the aftermath of the storm to provide extra hands to the storm-torn campus.
When protests were regularly occurring at McCorkle Place, “Our UNC housekeeping teams worked extra hours to help set up and take down barricades, ensuring that no person be harmed,” Hill said.
Hill’s praise of the housekeeping services was intended to correspond with International Housekeepers Week, which was earlier this month from Sept. 9-15.
University's birthday and a dynamic incoming class
The University celebrates its 225th birthday this year, which will make for a memorable University Day on Oct. 12. Joel Curran, vice chancellor for communications, presented the plan for this year’s celebration, which involves the incorporation of the 225 logo all over campus. It can be seen hanging from flag poles on Franklin Street, on the football field when UNC plays Virginia Tech during University Day weekend and many other spots over the next few weeks.
Vice Provost for Enrollment and Undergraduate Admissions Steve Farmer gave a report to the Board on UNC’s new students, emphasizing the dramatic increase in application numbers over the past 10 years. In that time, the number of applications the University receives has doubled, but Farmer said that the admissions department still employs the same number of people. He cited other noteworthy statistics: Mandarin overtook Spanish as the second most-spoke language among new students, and a higher percentage of Covenant Scholar students finished high school in the top ten of their class when compared to the rest of the incoming students.
The full board convenes tomorrow morning at The Carolina Inn.
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