CORRECTION: This editorial did not acknowledge that final grades were submitted on the last day for final grades to be submitted to the registrar. The editorial also incorrectly stated that the TAs had already been paid for December when they had not been. Additionally, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences emailed teaching assistants and said that any teaching assistants who withhold grades would be required to return the pay they had received as well as their tuition remission.The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for these errors.
Teaching assistants are a key part of any college campus. A group of integral yet underpaid individuals who are willing to spend their time helping both professors and students while pursuing their own education at the same time, these individuals should be appreciated throughout every college campus for their hard work and dedication.
A subsection of UNC’s TAs abandoned these principles, however, last semester. As finals began in December, a number of TAs went on strike and promised to withhold final grades as a form of protest. These strikes were in response to the proposed relocation plan for Silent Sam which had been submitted by Chancellor Carol Folt and the Board of Trustees a few days earlier – a plan which the Editorial Board has roundly criticized. As a result of these strikes, nearly 2,200 grades were withheld from students.
The Board condemns these protests, not for the subject of derision, but for the manner in which these TAs expressed their opposition. A large part of the student body would share the views of the TAs in regards to this issue. Many students believe a museum like the administration proposed would serve not to contextualize the statue but rather to memorialize it, to ingrain it inside of UNC’s culture. Many students have protested the existence of Silent Sam, standing alongside figures such as Maya Little.