The Carolina Black Caucus welcomed a new chairperson earlier this month.
Jaci Field, a 1993 alumna of UNC, serves as the director of the Eddie Smith Field House and is a member of the Athletic Facilities and Planning staff. In her work, she has managed capital projects, the athletic summer camp program and other areas throughout the department.
Field said she joined the CBC after a few years of encouragement from a friend, and she has been an active member for over 20 years.
“I just realized how great it felt to not be an ‘other’ in a room, and was really stricken by the wonderful feeling of community and family in the room,” she said.
The CBC is a University organization made up of faculty, staff, administrators and graduate students. According to its website, the mission of the CBC is to advocate for and empower Black UNC faculty and staff while fostering an equitable campus community.
The CBC also collaborates with campus organizations to help advocate on behalf of students across campus, Field said.
“She wants to bring not only the community within the University together, but she wants to work with the Town to better serve the community needs of the town as well," Cha’ssem Anderson, parliamentarian of the CBC said. "And so I think she will be a good chair."
Anderson said his first impression of Field was that she had a caring and open heart.
“We were both just general members, and with the past chair stepping down, the caucus has always been asking her, ‘All right, Jaci! It’s your time, it's your time,’” Anderson said.
Anderson said the CBC wants to make sure the University is promoting and retaining faculty and staff from underrepresented groups, and he thinks Field can help with that goal.
This past summer, the UNC Board of Trustees initially failed to offer tenure to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, only holding a vote after significant pushback from students, faculty and other community members.
Field said she believes this moment solidified the relationships of Black leadership groups on campus and brought them closer together. She said she wants to keep building those relationships in order to repair and bring campus communities together.
Antonio Squire, vice chairperson of the CBC, also pointed to Field's involvement — as the previous chairperson of the caucus's Advocacy Committee — in helping to push for the tenure of Nikole Hannah-Jones. Her involvement throughout this University controversy showed Squire and the rest of the CBC that Field was fit to be chairperson, he said.
“She's been here since the '90s as a student, and then later as an employee," Squire said. "She knows the challenges that faculty and staff of color face. As a result of the things that happened over the summer, faculty and staff and students of color are more united than ever, and I think Jaci is the perfect person to kind of lead that effort moving forward.”
As the new chairperson, Field has many ideas and goals to further the CBC’s mission. She said she plans to increase membership, engage more with Black student leadership organizations and continually hold the University accountable by implementing the theme of “community in action.”
Field said that this year, she wants to emphasize taking the time to listen to and genuinely care about one another. She said the CBC is going to advocate strongly for equality across campus, call out places and spaces that do not exhibit equality and come up with solutions to address this problem.
“As we get ready to celebrate 50 years of existence, I think that Jaci will do a great job of promoting the CBC across campus,” Squire said. “I think that she will hold the University administrators accountable for the list of demands that we made, as well as the demands that our students made.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story's photo caption incorrectly spelled the name of the Carolina Black Caucus. The article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of the organization. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
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