This election season, many community members in Chapel Hill and the surrounding areas have been thinking about ways to increase representation in the town government, especially among UNC students and racial minorities. They are now ramping up their calls after Josh Mayo, a Black graduate student, was recently denied from a position to serve the town.
Mayo is a Chapel Hill native who graduated from UNC and is now pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning with a focus on transportation planning. He recently submitted an application to serve on the Chapel Hill Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board in the position of Chapel Hill Resident but was denied in favor of Jack Whaley, an older white man.
Mayo received three votes from council members Donna Bell, Michael Parker and Karen Stegman, and Whaley received the other seven, including Mayor Pam Hemminger’s vote.
Mayo said that he wanted to serve on the board because he thought he could give a helpful perspective as both a Chapel Hill resident and student.
“I applied because I grew up in Chapel Hill and went to undergrad here, and I’m invested in the town’s future," Mayo said. "I’m currently pursuing a masters in urban planning, and since I’m learning about transportation planning, I figured I would be able to offer a helpful perspective. I also wanted to bring my experience as both a student and non-student to make sure everyone’s needs are taken into account.”